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I. Polyhymnia, a Regeliocydus hybrid. 

(I. Korolkowi x 1. susiaaa). (Two-thirds size). 


By W. R. DYKES, M.A., L.-es-L. 

Secretary of the Royal Horticultural 
Society. Author of "The Genus Iris," etc. 


Printed xn Great Britain. 


Some apology is perhaps needed for the production of 
a third book on Irises. My excuse is that of the two 
former volumes the earlier and smaller has long been 
out of print while the large monograph was written 
primarily from the botanical and not from the horti- 
cultural point of view. The small book did not aim 
at describing all the species. It was rather a rapid 
survey of Irises as garden plants and the fact that it 
was written in the space of a long week-end at the 
time of the Coronation of 191 1 is evidence that it was 
never intended to be exhaustive. 

The Genus Iris with its life-size, coloured illustra- 
tions of some fifty species, and full botanical descrip- 
tions of all the known species, was the result of an 
enquiry into the botany of Irises and of an attempt to 
cultivate all the available species and to raise them 
from seed. 

The present volume is intended for gardeners, though 
it is hoped that the information as to the distribution 
of the various species, the speculations as to their 
affinities and the botanical details which in certain 
cases must be understood in order to separate closely- 
allied species will prove no less welcome than the 
hints as to their cultivation, which are the results of 
an experience of some twenty years. 



Each section of the genus is treated as a whole in a 
separate chapter and the short descriptions of the 
individual species, which follow, must be read in 
conjunction with it. This method necessarity involves 
a certain amount of repetition but without it it would 
hardly be possible to deal with each section as a whole. 
No attempt is made to describe each species in minute 
detail, in all its parts or to give its exact distribution 
by reference to dried herbarium specimens in the 
various museum collections. For this information the 
reader is referred to the Genus Iris. It is hoped, how- 
ever, that enough information is given about all the 
species, which are at all adequately known, to enable 
them to be recognized and cultivated with some chance 
of success. 

The treatment of the innumerable garden hybrids 
has necessarily been more difficult and probably may 
seem more inadequate than that of the species. It 
is obviously impossible to describe every one and 
equally difficult to decide which are the best varieties 
or those most worthy of description. Moreover, any 
list compiled to-day will necessarily be largely out of 
date a few years hence. 

It was no easy matter to obtain illustrations for a 
book of these dimensions, for scarcely any of them 
could be hfesize. Photographs of Irises are seldom 
satisfactory and the cost of coloured drawings and of 
their reproduction was prohibitive. In the end it was 
decided to use as illustrations a series of drawings in 
monochrome by Miss E. Kaye. In most cases these 
have been drawn direct from the living plant, but in 


a few instances, where living plants were not available 
at the time, she was able, by the kindness of the late 
Hon. N. Charles Rothschild, to use specimens from an 
admirable series of coloured drawings of the Irises of 
Europe by F. H. Round. The cases, in which Mr. 
Round's drawings were used, are I. aphylla, I. pallida, 
I. variegata, I. sibirica, I. spuria (flower stem only), 
I. xiphium, I. xiphioides, and I. juncea. 

It might be thought that a key should have been 
given which would enable any one who was totally 
ignorant of Irises to identify any species. I have spent 
much time in attempting to construct such a key but 
have come to the conclusion that it would necessarily 
be so intricate as to be of little use to the beginner. I 
have, therefore, merely given at the end of Chapter II, 
page II, a key to the various sections of the genus and 
inserted in the general observations on each section 
a key to the species which compose it. 













I. The parts of the Iris flower and plant . 

The various sections of the Genus and their 

distribution ...... 

The geographical distribution of the various 

sections and species and their relative 

ages .... 
The Nepalensis Section 
The Gynandriris Section 
The Reticulata Section 
The Juno Section . 
The Xiphium Section 
The Evansia Section 
The Pardanthopsis Section 
The Apogon Section 

The Sibirica Subsection 

The Spuria Subsection 

The Californian Subsection 

The Longipetala Subsection 

The Hexagona Subsection 

Miscellaneous Beardless Irises 
The Oncocyclus Section 
The Regelia Section 
The Pseudoregelia Section 
The Pogoniris Section . 
Garden Bearded Irises . 


AND ON Diseases .... 
A Table of times of planting and flowering 
A list of Synonyms sometimes used in Gardens 


























I. Polyhymnia 



The parts of the Iris flower 

. p. I 


Hermodactylus tuberosus 



I. nepalensis 

, 20 


I. reticulata 

, 26 


A tj^ical Juno bulb 

. 40 


I. orchioides 

. 58 


I. Rosenbachiana 

, 6o 


A bulb of I. tingitana 

, 62 


I. xiphioides 

, 68 


I. xiphium 

. 72 


I. juncea 

. 74 


I. Wattii 

, 8o 


I. tectorum 

, 82 


I. sibirica 

. 92 


I. spuria 

, 106 


I. tenax 

, 118 


I. acutiloba x I. Korolkowi 

. 156 


I. Hoogiana 

» 172 


I. pumila X I chamaeiris 

, 196 


I. aphylla 

, 204 


I. pallida 

, £06 


I. variegata 

, 212 


I. pumila 

, 220 

To face p. i. 



S po1be - VQ |V€<S 




Conceoled msicie 
the SpcitKe 



The Parts of the Iris Flower and Plant. 

An Iris flower consists usually of three outer segments 
called falls and of three inner segments called standards. 
The standards are usuall}^ about equal in length to the 
falls, although in a few cases they are reduced in 
size and become mere points. In the Juno Irises, the 
standards are much reduced and extend horizontally 
or even hang down and touch the perianth tube. The 
lower part of both of the falls and of the standards is 
usually called the haft and over the haft of each fall 
arches one of the three branches of the style. Each 
branch ends in two, more or less divergent, triangular 
crests and under them is the stigma to which the 
pollen must be conveyed to fertihse the flower. Under 
the style branches lie the anthers supported on slender 
rods, called filaments. 

At their base the falls and standards unite to form 
the perianth tube, which is sometimes merely short and 
funnel-shaped but which usually extends below this 
as a straight tube above the ovary. The latter is sup- 
ported on a short stem caUed the pedicel and enclosed 
in the spathe, which has protected the bud until it was 
almost ready to unfold. 


The valves of the spathe may be either dry and 
papery, in which case they are called scarious or else 
herbaceous, which means that they retain some 
moisture in their tissues and are not shrivelled. Her- 
baceous spathes may be either membranous and semi- 
transparent or opaque, green or green more or less 
flushed with dull purple. 

The rhizome is really a stem that creeps along the 
surface of the ground and should therefore never be 
deeply covered. With the exception of the two species 
of the Nepalensis section (p. 21) and of I. sisyrinchium 
{p. 24), all Irises, that are not bulbous, have rhizomes. 
In the case of the Bearded species, the rhizome is stout 
and fleshy, but in the Beardless species it is usually 
much more slender and fibrous. 


The various Sections of the Genus and their 

There is probably no genus of hardy plants that can 
provide flowers in the garden for as many months of 
the year as do Irises. Indeed, in a light, warm soil 
and in favourable seasons in the south-east of England 
it is by no means impossible to have Irises in bloom in 
every week in the year. In countries with a conti- 
nental climate, consisting of hot summers and hard 
winters, such an ideal would doubtless be unobtainable, 
though on the other hand, even if the flowering season 
were compressed within narrower Hmits it would prob- 
ably be easier to cultivate successfully many species 
which are difficult to keep in health in England where 
the climate is so changeable. 

Irises are found growing wild in all parts of the 
Northern Temperate Zone from California in the West 
right round the globe to China and Japan. To the 
north they extend as far as Alaska, Kamchatka and 
Siberia and to the south to Hong-Kong, Southern 
Arabia and Florida. In many places they are found 
growing within a few yards of the sea as for instance 
in Portugal where I. subbiflora grows on the coast near 
Coimbra, or in Maine where a form of I. setosa flourishes 


within reach of the salt spray, while in China and Tibet 
they are found at elevations of more than 12,000 feet. 
No Irises grow wild south of the Equator, for they are 
there replaced by a closely allied genus, the Moraeas, 
which are numerous in South Africa and which differ 
from Irises mainly by the fact that the segments of the 
flower spring separately from the top of the ovary 
without first forming a tube of some length as they do 
in all Irises. Moraeas, moreover, form corms and not 
bulbs, the difference being that a bulb consists of 
numerous layers of skins, like those of an onion, while 
the substance of a corm is uniform and not split up 
into layers. New corms form hke those of a crocus or 
a gladiolus on top of the old corm, while new bulbs 
grow alongside the old bulbs and rather from their 
base than from the apex. It is true that one plant, 
long known as Iris sisyrinchium, which extends over a 
vast belt of country from Portugal to Baluchistan, has 
a corm and not a bulb, but this simply proves that it 
should more properly be considered a Moraea and not 
an Iris. 

For purposes of classification Irises may conveniently 
be divided into bulbous and non-bulbous species and 
among the bulbous species there are at least three well- 
marked divisions, the Xiphiums, the Junos and the 
Reticulatas. The Xiphiums, which comprise the so- 
called English and Spanish Irises, are confined to 
Spain and Portugal with the neighbouring countries 
of Southern France and North Africa and are charac- 
terized by the shape of their flowers and by the bulbs. 
These have smooth, and not netted, skins and lose all 


their roots during the resting period in Summer {see 
fig. 9, p. 62). 

The name of Juno was apparently given to a group 
of bulbous species merely in order to distinguish it and 
not because it was in any way pecuharly appropriate. 
The Juno species are distinguished by the fact that 
the bulbs in their resting state have attached to their 
base a number of fleshy tuberous roots [see fig. 6, 
p. 40) . They are found near the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean, in Asia Minor and Northern Mesopotamia and 
also in Turkestan and in the Salt Gauge on the North- 
west Frontier of India. 

The third section of bulbous Irises is grouped round 
Iris reticulata, which was so called because its bulb 
bears a coat of finely netted fibres {see fig. 5, p. 27). 
This section is confined to the region between the 
Caucasus and the south of Palestine, if we ignore a 
doubtful species Iris Kolpakowskiana, from a valley 
in Turkestan. In some ways this species differs widely 
from tlie other Reticulata Irises and it is so imper- 
fectly known that it is impossible to assign it with 
certainty to its proper place in the genus. Its seeds, 
for instance, are quite unknown, though they would 
give us at once an indication as to whether it should be 
classed as a Reticulata Iris, for the seeds of that 
section are quite characteristic. 

The only plant, whose seeds are Hable to be taken for 
those of a Reticulata Iris, is Hermodactylus tuberosus. 
This is common in Italy and in other parts of Southern 
Europe and is often known as Iris tuberosa. It re- 
ceived its name from the curious finger-like tubers. 


which form its rootstock {see fig. 3, p. 6). The 
flowers are a wonderful combination of green and 
velvety black and the narrow four-sided leaves are also 
curiously Hke those of I. reticulata, though, when 
mature, they may be distinguished by the fact that 
they taper slightly upwards from the broad base to 
the narrow apex, while the leaves of I. reticulata are 
of the same diameter throughout their whole length. 
Hermodactylus tuberosus is separated by botanists 
from the Irises on the ground that the ovary is not 
separated into three compartments, though they ap- 
parently overlook the fact that in Iris pumila the 
separation is not complete right down to the base of 
the ovary. In this species, and only in this species, 
so far as we know, the dividing membrane separates 
about half way from the top, so that the three com- 
partments of the ripe seed capsule of the true I. pumila 
open into each other. 

The non-bulbous Irises have for their rootstock what 
is known as a rhizome, which is really a creeping stem. 
This is capable of infinite extension by means of lateral 
shoots so that rhizomatous Irises can spread far more 
easily than the bulbous species. When this creeping 
stem becomes erect and turns into a flower stem, its 
growth ceases with the full development of the flowers 
and the energies of the plant are then diverted into the 
development of lateral buds. These can usually be 
found on either side of the rhizome near the base of 
the tuft of leaves. From them fresh rhizomes soon 
form and it is from these that the flower stems arise 
in the following season. If a rhizomatous Iris fails to 










flower for several years, it may produce a rhizome more 
than a foot in length. This will be broad and narrow 
by turns, according as the growth of the leaves was 
active and luxurious in spring and summer or slow and 
scanty in autumn and winter. 

Two Irises only are known to have neither rhizomes 
nor bulbs but to consist in their resting state merely of 
a dormant bud to the base of which are attached a 
number of fleshy store roots. These are I. nepalensis 
and I. CoUettii of which the rootstocks are not unlike 
that of a HemerocalHs. These two species differ 
chiefly in that I. nepalensis possesses a stem some 
inches in length and a short perianth tube between 
the flower and the ovary, while in I. CoUettii the stem 
is practically non-existent and the tube several inches 
in length. 

Curiously enough there are other similar pairs of 
Irises differing from one another in precisely the same 
way. The Austrian and Hungarian I. pumila has a 
long tube and practically no stem, while the French 
I. chamaeiris has a tube much shorter than the stem. 
In the Balkans I. Reichenbachii corresponds to I. 
chamaeiris and I. mellita to I. pumila, while the cor- 
responding Himalaj^an pair are I. kumaonensis and 
I. Hookeriana. In China the same characters separate 
the stemless I. Potanini from I. tigridia. It is difficult 
to see what local conditions can have produced the 
development of these various pairs of Irises along the 
same lines, though a better acquaintance with the 
precise conditions under which they grow in their 
native habitats might help to solve the problem. 


Among rhizomatous Irises the most obvious division 
is into bearded and beardless species, which are known 
as Pogoniris and Apogons, from the Greek word Trcoyav. 
a beard. Of Bearded Irises there are four well marked 
and homogeneous sections, while among the beardless 
species there are a number of small groups of which 
the members are obviously closely related to one 
another and a few isolated species, such as foetidissima 
and setosa. 

The comparison of the seeds of the various species 
shows that, although each section of the Bearded Irises 
has a characteristic type of seed, the seeds of the in- 
dividual members of each group are indistinguishable 
from one another. On the other hand most of the 
Apogon or Beardless species can be readily recognised 
by their seeds, for there are many very distinct types 
among them, and hardly any two species have seeds 
which are indistinguishable the one from the other. 

Of Bearded Irises the chief section consists of the 
Pogoniris proper, among which are the various species 
from which the vast majority of our garden Irises have 
been developed by hybridisation. Species of the 
Pogoniris section are found growing wild from the 
Atlantic coast of Portugal and the Atlas mountains of 
Morocco through Central and Southern Europe and 
Asia Minor to Turkestan and the mountains of Man- 
churia, Tibet and Western China. None are found 
wild in America, for I. albicans in Mexico was doubtless 
imported from Spain. 

Of the three minor sections of Bearded Irises the 
most fascinating and the most difficult to cultivate 


successfully consists of the Oncocyclus species (p. 150) 
which range through Asia Minor, Syria, the Caucasus 
and Western Persia. Further east, in Turkestan, are 
found the Regelias (p. 164) of which the seeds are in 
distinguishable from those of the Oncocyclus species, 
but which differ in the formation of their rhizomes, in 
the fact that their stems bear two or three flowers 
instead of the solitary bloom of the Oncocyclus and 
also in being much more amenable to cultivation. 

The Regelias are confined to the northern side of the 
great mountainous backbone of Central Asia while on 
the southern side there grows in Northern India a 
small group of somewhat closely allied species, which 
have been caUed Pseudoregelia and which are charac- 
terized by the possession of a curiously compact and 
gnarled rhizome and by producing flowers which are 
mottled and blotched with two shades of purple in a 
way that is not found in any other section of Irises. 

Between the Bearded and the Beardless Irises come 
the Evansia species, in which the central line of the 
" falls " or outer segments of the flower is raised into 
a conspicuous ridge or crest. The species of this 
section seem strangely reluctant to hybridize either 
with one another or with the Bearded or the Beardless 
Irises. One species, I. tectorum, has been combined 
with bearded species and the flowers of the hybrid 
bear a beard springing from a distinct, raised ridge. 
As, however, the hybrids have so far proved quite 
sterile both to their own pollen, which is imperfect, 
and to that of their parents, it has been impossible to 
raise a second generation, which might have thrown 


some light on the question of the real relationship of 
the Bearded and Crested sections. 

The Apogons or Beardless species are by far the most 
widely distributed of all the divisions of the genus and 
therefore presumably represent an earlier stage in its 
development than the various bearded sections (see 
p. 15). Beardless species are found all over the tem- 
perate regions of Europe, Asia and North America. 
Moreover, as these species are more widely distributed 
than those of any other division of the genus, so also 
do they differ more widely in their habits and require- 
ments. All the Bearded species require dry condi- 
tions of soil and situation and so also do the bulbous 
species with the single exception of the Pyrenean 
I. xiphioides. It is only among the Apogons that we 
find some species, such as pseudacorus, versicolor and 
laevigata, which revel in the moist soil of a bog and 
others, such as the Californian bracteata and tenax, 
which will only flourish where the soil is porous and 
well drained. 

A useful indication of the needs of any particular 
species in the way of moisture is to be found by holding 
a leaf up to the light. If it appears to be dotted all 
over with minute black specks, then the plant needs 
moisture, while, if the green colour is uniform, the 
plant will flourish in drier conditions. The black 
specks are produced by the thickening of the tissue 
to form valves or divisions in the vertical channels that 
run through the substance of the leaves. 

The various sections of the Iris genus may be separ- 
ated as follows : — 

Rootstock a bulb, a corm, or a rhizome 




6. f 

Rootstock neither a bulb nor a corm 
nor a rhizome but merely a bud 
with a bundle of fleshy roots at- 
tached to it. 

Rootstock a corm, of solid substance 
not arranged in rings ; individual 
flowers lasting a few hours only. 

Rootstock a bulb or a rhizome. 

Rootstock a bulb. 

Rootstock a rhizome. 

Bulbs with netted coats. 

Bulbs with smooth skins. 

Bulbs with fleshy roots attached during 
the resting period. 

Bulbs without any roots during the 
resting period. 

Falls bearing a crest hke a single 

Falls not crested. 

Falls not bearded. 

Falls bearded. 

Stem branching regularly and forming 
a raceme. 

Stem not branching regularly. 

The Nepalensis 
Section (p. 21). 


Section (p. 24). 



The Reticulata 
Section (p. 27) 

The Juno Section 
(p. 41). 

The Xiphium 
Section (p. 62). 

The Evansia 
Section (p. 78). 




The Pardanthopsis 
Section (p. 87). 

The Apogon 
Section (p. 89) 



' Beard very widely scattered over the 
haft of the fall, stems i-flowered ; 
outer leaves curved, sickle shaped. 
Seeds with circular creamy collar. 

Beard linear, confined to a narrow line. 

The Oncocyclus 
Section (p. 150). 

9. / Falls and standards both bearded ; 
stems never branched, seeds with 
large circular creamy collar, rhizome 
spreading by stolons. 


Falls alone regularly bearded ; seeds 
without large collar, rhizome not 
spreading by stolons. 

Rhizome compact, gnarled ; flowers ap- 
pearing while leaves are quite short ; 
seeds with small creamy collar. 

Rhizome linear ; flowers as tall as or 
above the full grown leaves ; seeds 
without creamy collar. 

The Regelia 

Section (p. 164). 


The Pseudoregelia 
Section (p. 175). 

The Pogoniris 
Section (p. 180). 


The Geographical Distribution of the various 
Sections and Species and their relative ages. 

Any account of the geographical distribution of the 
species of a botanical genus should be based, if it is to 
be accurate, on the examination of a large number of 
dried specimens of collected plants and not on the 
statements in books on local floras. These latter are 
often, and indeed usually, misleading because in most 
genera there is such confusion among the names that 
it is impossible to be certain what plant is really re- 
corded under any given name. Accordingly no re- 
ferences will be made here to any local floras and all 
the statements are based on the herbarium collections 
of Kew, The British Museum, Edinburgh, Oxford and 
Cambridge and also on those of Berlin, Vienna and 
Paris, together with a certain amount of material from 
Washington and Petrograd. 

At first sight the shrivelled remains of a plant, which 
was collected, roughly pressed and dried on some 
exploring or scientific expedition, do not seem to afford 
much help towards its identification but familiarity 
with a number of such specimens and knowledge of 
the behaviour of many of the species when cultivated 
in our gardens lead to a perception of the peculiarities 
and characteristics of each one, which finally makes it 


in nearly every case an easy matter to determine the 
identity of the specimen. It becomes obvious at a 
glance to what group or section the plant belongs and 
the trained eye soon sees the one or more characters 
which separate each species from its relatives. 

Whatever view we take of the exact process by 
which species have originated, it will probably be 
agreed that species of which the seeds are indistin- 
guishable are more closely allied to one another and 
possibly of more recent origin than those of which each 
can be identified by its characteristic seeds, for the 
latter would seem to be more probably the remaining 
representatives of large groups, of which the majority 
of the members have died out. If, on the other hand, 
we find groups of species, all of which have seeds of 
the same type and which are confined to a compara- 
tively small area, there is probably no doubt that these 
groups are of comparatively recent origin. 

If this theor}^ is adopted, then it is obvious that such 
Irises as the Oncocyclus species, the Regehas and the 
Pseudoregelias are of much more recent origin than 
the Apogon or beardless species. All Oncocyclus 
Irises, and indeed all Regelias as well, have seeds which 
are indistinguishable from one another and yet recog- 
nizable at a glance as differing from those of all other 
species. The seeds of the Pseudoregelias are of a 
slightly different type but agree among themselves 
and differ from all others in the same way. 

The distribution of these groups is equally remark- 
able. Oncocyclus species are only found distributed 
over a comparatively small area, from Asia Minor to 


the Mountains of Western Persia and from the Caucasus 
region in the north to the Egyptian frontier of Syria 
in the south. The RegeHas are confined to the region 
between the Caspian Sea and Afghanistan and Beluchi- 
stan, while the Pseudoregehas are only found to the 
east of the Pamirs and of the Hindu Kush on the 
southern side of the Himalayas. 

On the other hand, Bearded Irises of the Pogoniris 
section are much more widely distributed and are 
found from the Atlantic Coast of Portugal through 
Europe and North Africa, Southern Russia, Asia Minor 
and Arabia to Central Asia, North- West India and 
Western China, and we may, therefore, look on this 
section as being older than the Oncocyclus, Regelia 
and Pseudoregelia sections. By the same arguments 
we shall conclude that the Pogoniris or Bearded section 
is younger than the Apogon or Beardless section, of 
which representatives are found wherever Irises grow 
at all. No bearded species is a native of America 
(see p. 8) and yet one Apogon at least (I. setosa) is a 
native both of America and of Asia. The fact that 
forms of I. setosa are found in Alaska, in Labrador and 
on the coast of Maine and also in Siberia and Kam- 
chatka seems to show that it must be a species of very 
ancient origin. Again, I. ensata is one of the most 
widely distributed of Asiatic Irises and its nearest 
relatives seem to be the members of the longipetala 
group, which are found from San Francisco on the 
Pacific coast to Laramie on the eastern side of the 
Rocky Mountains. In western Europe our native 
I. pseudacorus is very widely distributed and its 


nearest relative is I. versicolor in the Eastern United 
States. The view that it is therefore a species, which 
arose early in the development of the genus, is sup- 
ported, perhaps, by the fact that all attempts to 
hybridise it, except with pollen of versicolor, have so 
far proved futile and even then the one known hybrid 
is sterile. 

Species which combine to produce sterile hybrids 
are presumably of greater antiquity and less closely 
related than those which give rise to fertile hybrids, 
while those which obstinately refuse to allow them- 
selves to be hybridised at all must therefore be looked 
upon as still more ancient. It is no surprise then to 
find that there is no known h3^brid between an Apogon 
and a Pogoniris, though various species of Pogoniris 
cross fairly readily with Oncocyclus and Regelia species. 
The hybrids thus produced are, however, practically 
entirely sterile, for there is only one known instance 
of a second generation arising from such a hybrid and 
that is a seedling raised from one of Foster's pallida- 
iberica crosses. 

The Evansia or crested Irises are a puzzle but seem 
to be more nearly related to the Bearded Irises than 
to the Apogons. The seeds of the Asiatic species, 
Milesii and tectorum, are intermediate between those 
of the Pogoniris and Oncocyclus species and it has been 
found possible to cross the Loppio form of I. Ciengialti 
with pollen of I. tectorum. The result was a sterile 
hybrid with a beard on top of a crest and intermediate 
in other ways between the two parents. There is no 
sign of dominance, as the term is used in Mendelian 


language, and this is apparently the case among Irises 
whenever two obviously distinct species are crossed. 
For instance, the bearded I. Boissieri has its beard 
shorn of half its length when it is crossed with any 
beardless species of the Xiphion section and the long 
perianth tube of I. tingitana is reduced to half its 
length in the hybrid between that species and the 
tubeless I. xiphium. 

Since, however, a Pogoniris will cross with an 
Evansia, though neither of these has been known to 
cross with an Apogon, we may conclude that they are 
later developments in the Iris genus and it is interesting 
to remember in this connection that in the United 
States there is an Apogon I. verna, which, except for 
the absence of a beard, looks exactly like a Pogoniris. 
Moreover its seeds are very characteristic and resemble 
no others except those of I. cristata and its subspecies 
I. lacustris, which represent the Evansia Section in 
America. Possibly we have here in I. verna and 
I, cristata specimens of the two diverging groups that 
are both developing from the original Apogons. 

Even the Apogons themselves seem to be throwing 
off new and closely allied species in two areas. One of 
these is in California, where we find I. Douglasiana, 
I. tenax, I. bracteata and others, all of which cross 
readily with one another and give fertile hybrids and 
the other is in south-western China, a region from 
which we have recently obtained several representa- 
tives of the Sibirica section, I. Wilsonii, I. Forrestii, 
I. chrysographes and I. Delavayi. These, again, are 
readily fertile to each other's pollen and produce 


fertile hybrids, though when crossed with the Euro- 
paean L sibirica they give sterile hybrids. 

Of rhizomatous Irises it seems therefore that the 
Beardless species or Apogons represent the oldest types 
of Iris and that from them have developed the Bearded 
Pogoniris and the crested Evansias. More recently 
still the comparatively small, local sections of the 
Oncocyclus and RegeUas species have been developed 
from the Pogoniris. 

There remains the problem of the bulbous species. 
What was their origin and are they older or younger 
than the rhizomatous sections ? There are at least 
three distinct bulbous sections, the Xiphions, the 
Reticulatas and the Junos, each of which is confined 
to a comparatively small area. The Xiphions are only 
found in Spain and in its geological extension in North- 
west Africa, with the two exceptions of I. xiphium, 
which has an outlying station near Beziers on the south 
coast of France and of I. juncea, which grows or grew 
near Palma in Sicily. The Reticulatas are natives of 
the Caucasus, Asia Minor, Syria and northern Meso- 
potamia and are confined to that district, with the 
single exception of the imperfectly known I. Kol- 
pakowskyana from Turkestan, which by reason of its 
crocus-Hke leaves may constitute a distinct section of 
the genus. The Junos are the most widely distributed 
of all the Bulbous sections for they extend from the 
habitat of I. alata and I. palestina round the coasts of 
the Mediterranean and in Sicily, through Asia Minor, 
Mesopotamia, Turkestan and Afghanistan to the Salt 
Range and the neighbourhood of Rawal Pindi in the 


Curiously enough we can in each of these three cases 
point to nonbulbous species, natives of the same areas, 
which seem to show traces of relationship, or of de- 
velopment along similar hnes, to the local bulbous 
species. Thus in Spain, the home of the various 
Xiphion species, we find I. spuria. The shape of its 
flowers and of those of I. xiphium is almost identical 
and both these species share the characteristic that 
drops of nectar stand out on the short funnel-shaped 
perianth tube, which lies between the base of the 
segments of the flower and the top of the linear tube, 
though this phenomenon is not common in other 

In Palestine and Syria among the Reticulatas grows 
the small group of Apogon species, of which I. Grant 
Dufiii is typical. Seedlings of this species by the end 
of their first season will be found to have formed what 
are practically bulbs with netted coats similar to those 
from which I. reticulata took its name. It is only in 
later years that a short rhizome is formed of a suc- 
cession of rings, each representing the base of the 
bulbhke apex which develops as the result of each 
season's growth. 

The character, which separates the Juno Irises from 
all other bulbous species, is the formation at the end 
of the growing season of thick store roots, which remain 
unbranched during the season of rest in summer. The 
characteristic rhizomatous Irises of Asia Minor and 
Turkestan, the centre of the area of the Juno species, 
are the Oncocyclus and RegeHa sections, which both 
form stout roots before growth ceases in early summer. 


These roots remain unbranched during the summer 
drought and only send out lateral rootlets after the 
coming of the autumn rains. They are not so stout 
nor so fleshy as those of the Juno Irises but they have 
the property of remaining dormant for an equally long 

The fact that the three bulbous sections are each 
confined to comparatively limited areas seems to show 
that they are relatively late developments in the 
history of the genus, but it does not seem possible to 
trace or even to suggest the steps by which they have 

To face p. 20 

Rootstock of I. nepalensis. 

(Natural size). 


The Nepalensis Section. 

This small section contains, as far as is known, only- 
two species, I. nepalensis and I. Collettii, of which the 
former has a stem of some length and the latter prac- 
tically no stem. Moreover, the leaves of I. Collettii 
are relatively broader than those of I. nepalensis. 

The rootstock of these two species is unique. It 
consists merely of a bundle of about eight or twelve 
fleshy roots attached to a growing point or bud {see 
fig. 4), These roots are formed at the end of the 
growing season and are unbranched when growth 
ceases in October. In this country, at any rate, it is 
better to lift the plants then and store them in dry 
sand until the following March, when they should be 
planted out in a sunny position in well drained rich soil 
and given plenty of moisture during the growing season. 
It seems probable that in their native homes, growth 
ceases in the autumn when the dry north-east monsoon 
sets in and that the plants are then frozen and remain 
dormant until the spring, when growth is rapid in the 
warmth and moisture of the south-west monsoon. 

7. nepalensis.'^ Don, 1825. The southern slopes of 

* It must be carefully distinguished from the I. nepalensis of Wallich, a 
synonym of the atropurpurea form of germanica which was common in the 
neighbourhood of Khatmandu in Nepal as early as the beginning of the 
XlXth Century. 


the Himalaya from Garhwal and Kumaon to 

Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. It appears also to 

extend into Yunnan in South-western China. 

This species is rather a botanical curiosity on account 

of its curious rootstock than a good garden plant {see 

p. 2i). The foHage is narrow and strongly ribbed, with 

one prominent midrib on one face of the leaf and two 

on the other. It is conspicuously glaucous at the base 

but becomes greener as it matures. The flowers are 

very deHcate and fugitive, only lasting one day. The 

fine, deep lavender or Hlac veining on a lighter ground 

stands out on the falls, which have a central yellow 

ridge tipped with mauve and the spreading standards 

are wholly of one shade of colour, usually a little darker 

than that of the faUs. 

The stem is 12 to 18 inches long and usuaUy bears 
one or two short lateral branches as well as the terminal 
head of two flowers. The long narrow spathes are 
keeled and green and the flowers do not appear until 
June in this country. 

I. nepalensis is easily raised from seeds sown in pots 
in the open and the plants thus obtained are more 
perfect than those that are collected, for the latter 
seldom reach this country with the fleshy roots intact. 
For cultivation see p. 21. 

7. Collettii. Hooker, 1903. Burmah, Siam and South- 
western China. First discovered by CoUett on the 
Shan Hills in Burmah in 1888. 
This is practically a stemless form of I. nepalensis, 

though quite distinct enough to merit specific rank. 


The rootstock is very similar, except perhaps that the 
roots are more inchned to be swollen near the ex- 
tremity than is the case with I. nepalensis. The 
flowers are smaller, about ij to 2 inches in diameter, 
of a more uniform lilac colour and less veined. The 
central ridge is of a very vivid orange and the leaves 
are relatively broader. It is probably also a charac- 
teristic of the fohage that there should be two promi- 
nent veins or ribs on one surface of each leaf and three 
on the other, whereas in I. nepalensis there are two on 
one surface and one on the other. 

The stems, of which several are produced on a strong 
plant, are only an inch or two in length and the 
perianth tube is about iJ inches long. 

Cultivation is the same as for I. nepalensis, see p. 21. 


The Gynandriris Section. 

/. sisyrinchium. Linnaeus, 1753. The name is de- 
rived from the Greek word aiavpa, a cloak of 
shaggy goat's skin and was applied to this plant 
because of the thick covering of coarse fibres which 
surrounds the corm. 
This curious plant is very widely distributed. It is 
found in Portugal and all round the coasts of the 
Mediterranean, in Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia and 
through Central Asia as far as Afghanistan and the 
neighbourhood of Quetta and Peshawar. 

Strictly speaking it is probably not an Iris at all but 
a Moraea. At any rate, it is much more closely allied 
to the bulbous plants of South Africa than to any of 
the Irises and it is the only exception to the rule that 
Irises are found to the north of the Equator and 
Moraeas to the south. 

Botanically it differs from the Irises in having a 
rootstock that is a corm and not a bulb. A bulb is 
composed of a number of skins or layers, and offsets 
develop at the base or sides while a corm is of uniform 
substance throughout, as in the well-known instance 
of the Crocus or Gladiolus and new corms form on top 
of the old corm. 


However, this plant has been called an Iris since the 
time of Linnaeus and it may therefore be included in 
this account of the genus, though it is so distinct that 
a separate section, Gynandriris, has to be made for it 
with reference to the fact that the male stamens are 
closely attached to the female style. 

The corms are said to be edible but experience has 
shown that they will not commend themselves, in the 
raw state at any rate, to all palates. 

The plant itself is very variable and many local 
forms occur in various parts of the wide area over 
which it is distributed. The stem may be very short 
or as much as twelve inches in length but is always 
shorter than the Unear, strongly veined leaves. There 
is a terminal head of two or more flowers and usually 
several lateral heads. The spathes are tubular at the 
base, thin and membranous and one peculiarity is that 
the flowers do not open until nearly midday and fade 
away by four or five in the afternoon. Each spathe, 
however, may produce as many as six flowers in succes- 
sion, at intervals of a day or two. 

The flowers vary in colour and may be of any shade 
of lavender or lilac. There is usually a patch of white 
on the blade of the falls which is often dotted with 
minute spots of the same colour as the edge of the 
blade. Along the centre of the haft and running on 
to the blade is a yellow ridge, which is sometimes 
dotted with black. 

I. sisyrinchium demands a thorough ripening in 
summer, if it is to succeed and flower well. Provided 
that it gets this, it is not exacting as to soil, though it 


is probably most vigorous in a heavy soil, rich in lime. 
If the corms are lifted when the leaves wither and 
stored in dry sand in a warm place until October, there 
is no difficulty in cultivating this plant. 

It is by far the most widely and regularly distributed 
of all Irises and its relationship to the flora of South 
Africa may be evidence of its great antiquity and of 
the possibility that it represents an older type of de- 
velopment than we find in any of the true Irises. 

To jace p. 26. 

I. reticulata and bulb. 

(Half size) 


The Reticulata Section. 

The distinguishing character of the species included 
in this section is the network of fibres which forms the 
outer coat of the bulb [see fig. 5, p. 26), and it is from 
this network (Latin reticulum, a little net) that the 
name was derived. The foliage, too, is quite different 
from that of any other section. In all species it is 
very narrow and, with two or three exceptions, quad- 
rangular in section with two broader and two narrower 

The best known species is I. reticulata itself, a native 
of the Caucasus, where it was first discovered by 
Bieberstein over a hundred years ago. A curious fact 
about this Iris is that the common plant in the Caucasus 
is a red purple form similar to that which is usually 
known as the variety Krelagei. Indeed, the origin of 
the deep violet blue form, so weU-known in our gardens, 
is quite uncertain. AU the known examples of it have 
probably been derived as offsets from one original bulb, 
either collected or a seedUng of garden origin. On 
several occasions I have received bulbs from the 
Caucasus and they were always the red-purple form 
and, what is still more curious, all the seedhngs that 
I have raised from the blue form have always been red 
purple. It is only in the second generation, as seed- 


Ungs of the red purple form, that I have obtained blue 
purple seedUngs, similar to but not identical with the 
well-known type. It is possible that this so-caUed 
type is really a hybrid between the wild red purple 
plant of the Caucasus and I. histrio, a blue purple 
species from Asia Minor. 

Whatever its origin, the blue type of I. reticulata 
is of strong constitution and increases rapidly in con- 
genial soil. Indeed, its tendency to increase by offsets 
and its reluctance to set seed unless artificially pol- 
linated may be indications of its hybrid origin. Its 
actual time of flowering varies from year to year. In 
some seasons it is at its best in February, while in 
others it is possible to gather buds in the last week of 
March. In the open garden large masses of it make 
a wonderful picture with the deep violet blue and the 
central golden streak set amid the grey green of the 
narrow leaves. For indoor decoration the buds should 
be cut by inserting the sharp point of a knife at or just 
below the ground line and between the two leaves. 
The buds should then be inserted in bowls of damp 
sand and it will not be long before they burst open and 
give off a sweet fragrance which is not always per- 
ceptible at lower temperatures in the open. 

In northern Asia Minor and particularly in the 
neighbourhood of Amas, there is found a species with 
large blue-purple, white-blotched flowers, which appear 
early in January when the points of the leaves have 
only just pierced the surface of the soil. This is 
I. histrioides, so called from the hkeness of its flowers 
to those of I. histrio, a closely allied species from further 


south in Asia Minor and possibly in Northern Syria. 
I. histrio may be in flower in December or not until 
January but in any case the leaves are some 4 or 6 
inches in length when the flowers open. These are 
very brightly mottled with shades of light and dark 
blue on a white ground and it was their gaudy ap- 
pearance that won for the plant the name of histrio, 
the actor. 

Of both these plants there are probably a number of 
local forms. For instance, the Amas form of histrioides 
is only the largest flowered form of the same species 
which was described by Foster as sophenensis from the 
neighbourhood of Kharput, where it is smaller and 
much less brilliantly coloured. From Marash, further 
south, I once received a number of bulbs of "I. histrio," 
among which there was considerable variation both in 
the shape of the falls and in the arrangement of the 
blotches of colour. What was stiU more remarkable 
was the presence among them of a few bulbs, which 
produced flowers of a dull red-purple with a kind of 
blackish sheen. These were of a darker and blacker 
red than the Krelagei form of reticulata, but we must 
obviously expect to find that the flowers of these 
species may be either blue-purple or red-purple. We 
must not consider every colour form a distinct species. 

I. histrio probably extends into Northern Syria, 
while further south in Palestine it is replaced by the 
closely aUied I. Vartani, which was discovered by and 
named after Dr. Vartan of Nazareth. Of this species 
the flowers are usually a pale lavender grey, though 
forms are known which are spotted with blue on a 


white ground. In a warm place the flowers give off 
a strong scent of almonds and this fragrance and the 
very long crests of the style arms alone serve to dis- 
tinguish the species from I. histrio. 

Another ally from the Cicilian Taurus was named 
Danfordiae, after its discoverer the well-known tra- 
veller, Mrs. Danford. I. Danfordiae may be recognized 
at once by its bright yellow colour and by the fact that 
its standards are reduced to mere bristles, so small in 
fact as to be almost invisible. There may be some 
variation in the size and extent of the band of green 
or olive brown that runs along the style-branches, but 
no specimen has yet been discovered of any other 
colour than yellow. 

All these species have four-sided leaves but in 
Northern Mesopotamia and Kurdistan there is another, 
I. Bakeriana, whose cylindrical leaves have eight raised 
ribs set round them at equal intervals. The flowers 
are small but very brilliantly coloured. The standards 
are blue-purple and the falls have a deep, velvety dark 
blue blade, with a central area where the white ground 
appears flecked with a few dark blotches or spots. It 
might be supposed that bulbs derived as offsets from 
a parent bulb would produce flowers identical in every 
way with those of the parent, but close observation 
has shown that the offsets do vary a Uttle in the number 
and exact disposition of the spots and blotches on the 
white ground, though the general effect of all the 
individuals is, of course, so similar that the observer 
at a distance of a few feet would say they were identical. 
I. Bakeriana hybridises readily with I. reticulata and 


the resulting seedlings are remarkable for the velvety 
brilUance of their colouring. The foliage, too, is in- 
teresting, for the leaves are intermediate between those 
of the two parents and have six ribs instead of either 
four or eight. 

Far away to the East, near Werny, in Turkestan, 
there has been found an Iris Kolpakowskiana, of which 
the bulb apparently resembles that of I. reticulata, 
though the narrow, channelled leaves are more Uke 
those of a crocus and quite unlike those of any other 
member of the section. The flowers are of the same 
shape as those of I. reticulata but of a fine red-purple 
colour on a creamy ground, which shows through on 
the blade of the falls. This Iris is so imperfectly 
known that a better knowledge of it may make it 
desirable to constitute a separate section for it. 

The reticulata Irises seem to delight in a well-drained 
soil that is rich in humus and for this reason I. reticu- 
lata is often found flourishing in old cottage gardens. 
I. reticulata and I. histrioides are probably the most 
successful in this country because their foliage appears 
later and is therefore less liable to be damaged or even 
destroyed by severe frost than that of histrio, which 
develops before Christmas. No plant can ripen a 
strong vigorous bulb if its foUage is destroyed at an 
early stage in its development, since the sustenance 
derived from the soil by the roots must first be modified 
by the action of light on the green chlorophyll of the 
leaves before it can be stored up in the new bulbs that 
form for the succeeding year. 

I. Danfordiae and some forms of I. histrio are more 


difficult to manage because, when the mother bulb is 
exhausted by flowering, it does not form, as in I. reti- 
culata, another bulb of flowering size and a few offsets 
which will grow to flowering size in one or two years, 
but usually perishes itself and merely leaves behind it 
a large number of very small bulblets which need 
careful nursing for a year or two, if they are to grow 
eventually to flowering size. 

The soil for these Irises should not be deficient in 
lime, which is perhaps best supplied in the form of old 
mortar rubble. Where they are healthy, they may be 
left undisturbed for several years, until, in fact, the 
bulbs become so crowded that there is a danger that 
they will exhaust the nourishment within reach of their 
roots. Then they should be lifted, dried off for a few 
days in an airy place, not too hot nor exposed to the 
sun and then replanted in fresh soil. Nothing is gained 
by keeping the bulbs out of the ground after the be- 
ginning of September and they should be replanted 
some three inches below the surface. 

If, when the plants appear in early Spring, there are 
gaps in their ranks, it is as well to Hft all the bulbs as 
soon as the foliage is mature and has turned yellow, 
because it will probably be found that the bulbs have 
been attacked by a fungus, which stains the skins 
black as though with ink. All that are badly infected 
must be burnt, while the rest should be soaked for 
about two hours in a weak solution of formahn (one 
part to 300 of water). They should not be put into 
the solution immediately they are dug up but only 
after they have been allowed to dry for a few days. 


Otherwise the outer skins will not have hardened and 
the formalin penetrates too deeply into the bulb with 
disastrous results. When the bulbs have been treated 
with the formahn solution, they may be allowed to 
dry and then be replanted in due course in fresh soil. 

All these Irises are well adapted for sheltered sunny 
comers in the rock garden and also for growing in pots 
in a cool house. Indeed, they often show to greater 
advantage in pots in a cold alpine house than in the 
open, for then their flowers get enough protection from 
the elements to enable them to last a fortnight or more. 
No attempt should be made to force the bulbs. They 
should be potted early in the autumn in rich, well- 
drained soil and the pots plunged under ashes for some 
weeks. Then when the shoots appear above the 
surface, a few days in a cool house will cause the 
flowers to burst open. 

Seedlings are not diflicult to raise. The plants 
should be cross pollinated with the aid of a pair of fine 
forceps to remove and hold the anthers and then pro- 
tected from rain by a sheet of glass arranged over them. 
When the capsules burst open, the seeds will be found 
to consist of two spheres, of which one is lighter in 
colour than the other. This lighter sphere will shrivel 
in a day or two and its contents seem to be absorbed 
by the other. When the seeds are fully ripened, they 
should be sown early in the autumn and treated in the 
same manner as is recommended for seeds of the Juno 
species on page 48. The young plants should flower 
in about four years from the time when the seeds are 



The various species of the Reticulata Section may 
be separated as follows : — 


Leaves flat like those of a Crocus. 
Leaves narrow, linear, rod-like. 
I Leaves with eight ribs at equal intervals. 

Leaves with four ribs and two narrow 
and two slightly broader sides. 

2. ( Inner segments (standards) reduced to 
mere inconspicuous bristles. 

Inner segments conspicuous, 

3. ( Leaves not yet produced at flowering 

Leaves produced at flowering time. 

Style-crests long and narrow ; flowers 
strongly almond-scented. 


Style-crests much shorter. 

' Flowers blue-violet or red-purple, the 
colour being uniform. 

Flowers mottled and blotched with two 
shades of blue-purple. 

L Kolpakowskiana 

(P- 34)- 

I. Bakeriana 
(P- 35)- 

I. Danfordiae 
(p. 36). 


I. histrioides 
(P- 37)- 

I. Vartani 
(P- 38). 


I. reticulata 
(p. 39)- 

I. histrio 
(P- 38). 

/. Kolpakowskiana. Regel, 1877. A native of Tur- 
kestan in the neighbourhood of Werny and named 
after General Kolpakowsky, a Russian governor 
of the province. 
Very little is unfortunately known about this curious 
and very distinct species. It has red-purple flowers 
not unlike those of I. reticulata (see fig. 5, p. 26) and 


channelled leaves with thick edges like those of a 
Crocus. They are about two inches long when the 
flower appears and the flower is raised above the 
ground only by the perianth tube which is two or 
three inches in length. 

I. Kolpakoswkiana is apparently diflicult to culti- 
vate in this country, for, though it has been introduced 
more than once into cultivation, it has always died out. 

There is said to be a closely allied species, I. Winkleri, 
Kegel, 1884, which differs chiefly in not having its 
bulbs enclosed in a network of fibres but it is possible 
that it was described merely from dried specimens* 
which, having been collected when in flower, had lost 
the outer covering of the bulbs. At flowering time, 
the old bulbs are not yet developed. In the same way, 
I. Danfordiae was first described as a Juno Iris. The 
dried specimens, collected when the plants were in 
flower, had lost their outer netted coats and the plant 
was classified as a Juno because of its minute reduced 

I. Bakeriana. Foster, 1889. Named after J. G. Baker, 

the Keeper of the Kew Herbarium at the time. 

Native of the hill country near the upper reaches 

of the Euphrates. 

This deUghtful Uttle species, with brilhant dark 

velvety flowers, is easily distinguished from all the 

other members of the section, by the fact that its 

narrow, tubular leaves have eight longitudinal ribs, 

set at equal intervals round the circumference. It 

flowers in February, when the leaves are some four or 


six inches long and the flowers reach to the top of the 
leaves. The colour is a blue violet, becoming very 
intense and velvety on the blade of the falls, in the 
centre of which is a small white area flecked with deep 
violet. The low central ridge is pale yellow along the 
haft and becomes white on the blade. 

There is no great difficulty in cultivating I. Bakeriana 
in a sheltered sunny corner or in a cold frame, pro- 
vided that it escapes the fungoid disease, which is 
always liable to attack the members of the Reticulata 
section. The bulbs increase slowly by offsets. 

I. Bakeriana may be hybridized with I. reticulata 
and the cross results in a number of different colour 
forms, all brilliant and intermediate in size between 
the two parents. The colour of the blade of the falls 
is always particularly deep and rich. 

The leaves of the hybrid are interesting, for they 
also are intermediate between those of the two parents 
and have six ribs. 

/. Danfordiae. Baker, 1876. Named after Mrs. 

Danford, who found it growing on the Cicilian 


This little species grows only to a height of about 

three inches and is distinguished by its yeUow flowers 

and by the fact that its inner segments are reduced to 

such smaU slender bristles that it is often difiicult to 

see them at all. There is often a certain amount of 

green marking on the style branches and on the blade 

of the falls. The leaves are very short at flowering time 

but become eventually about twelve inches in length. 


I. Danfordiae produces a number of very small 
offsets round the base of the flowering bulb. These 
require careful nursing for a year or two, if they are 
to develop into flowering size. 

All attempts to cross this species with any other 
have hitherto apparently been in vain. 

/. histrioides. Foster, 1892. So-called from its like- 
ness to I. histrio. A native of Northern Asia 
Minor near Amasia. 

This is the large, early-flowering, blue Iris, of which 
the flowers appear in January when the leaves have 
hardly pierced the soil. It differs from I. histrio in 
the shape of the flower, because the falls extend almost 
horizontally instead of at an angle of 45 degrees as they 
do in the funnel-shaped flower of I. histrio. 

The colour is a bright blue-purple, with a central 
white area on the blade of the falls, which is blotched 
and veined with blue. The central ridge is yellow. 

The bulbs are large and tend to taper at the upper 
end, so that they are less rounded than those of 
I. reticulata. They increase by forming numbers of 
very small bulblets round the base as well as by offsets 
of some size. 

Owing to the fact that the foliage is late in developing 
I. histrioides will often go on increasing year after year 
and do well in some sheltered, sunny bed. 

There is a dwarf, small-flowered and rather dull-col- 
oured variety which was described by Foster under the 
name of sophenensis, from the ancient name, Sophene, 
of the district round Kharput in which it was found. 



I. histrio. Reichenbach, 1872. The name means 
" actor " in Latin and was given because the 
flower is so gaily painted. Its home is in Asia 
I. histrio has flowers of the shape of those of I. reti- 
culata and the faUs rise at an angle instead of being 
extended horizontally as in I. histrioides. In most 
forms the standards tend to curve outwards and the 
colour is usually a blue-purple, the blade of the faUs 
being blotched with a deeper shade of the same colour 
with a low yellow central ridge. The species appears 
to vary a good deal in colour and I once received from 
the neighbourhood of Marash in south-eastern Asia 
Minor a variety in which the colour was wholly a 
blackish red-purple. 

Owing to the fact that the leaves of I. histrio begin 
to grow even before the New Year and are often six or 
eight inches long in January, they suffer from bad 
weather. Consequently I. histrio is less easy to cul- 
tivate than I. histrioides. 

I. Variant. Foster, 1885. Palestine and particularly 

in the neighbourhood of Nazareth, whence it was 

sent to Foster by Dr. Vartan, of Jerusalem. 

This species may be looked upon as the southern 

development of I. histrio. It has the same delicate 

constitution and, coming as it does from the lower and 

warmer levels, it sends up its leaves and often its 

flowers in December and consequently has httle chance 

in this country of ripening good bulbs for the following 



Its characteristics are the long, narrow style crests, 
which are actually even longer than the style branches 
themselves and the strong scent of almonds which the 
flowers give off. 

The colour is usually a rather dull slate-grey but 
white forms are known and others in which the white 
is spotted with blue. The flowers stand about four or 
five inches high and are overtopped by the leaves. 

7. reticulata. Bieberstein, 1808. So-called because of 
the netted outer coat of the bulb (Latin reticulum, 
a little net). It is a native of the Caucasus region. 
It is a curious fact that, although this Iris has been 
known in cultivation for over a hundred years and is 
now very widely distributed, practically nothing is 
known of it in the wild state. It has already been 
explained (p. 27) that there is some doubt as to the 
colour of the typical form and there is also considerable 
doubt as to the colour of Bieberstein's original type. 
It is uncertain whether it was reddish purple like the 
so-called variety Krelagei, or a paler blue than that 
which is usually cultivated. At various times there 
have been in cultivation such varieties as cyanea and 
there is also a light blue variety known as " Cantab." 
The narrow leaves usually appear in March and grow 
to as much as 24 inches in length before they wither 
away. At flowering time they rise to about eight or 
ten inches above the ground and so overtop the flowers 
which are raised on a perianth tube nearly six inches in 
length. It is not until the seed capsule ripens, that the 
stem lengthens in order to bring the seeds to the surface. 


The erect standards are usually a little longer than 
the falls, of which the oval blade is separated by a 
slight constriction from the haft. The central ridge 
is orange on the blade of the falls and is there sur- 
rounded by a white patch blotched with a few dark 
veins and spots. 

The flowers have the scent of violets but the fragrance 
is only given off in a warm atmosphere. 

For hints as to the cultivation of these species see 

pp. 31-33. 

To face p. 40. 

A typical Juno bulb. 

(Half natural size). 


The Juno Section. 

The peculiar formation of the bulbs of the species of 
this section has already been described on page 5, and 
the growing plants are quite unlike those of any other 
section. Of the earliest flowering species the blooms 
appear when the foliage has hardly or not yet de- 
veloped above the surface of the ground, but, when the 
leaves develop, they are more or less deeply channelled 
and set alternately on either side of the stem, while 
the flowers develop from the axils of the leaves. This 
arrangement is very evident in such tall species as 
I. bucharica with its six or seven flowers arranged 
alternately with the leaves on either side of the stem 
(see fig. 7, p. 58), though it is not always obvious in 
the dwarf er species. The flowers of the Juno species 
have the peculiarity that the three inner segments, 
which in other species are usually very prominent and 
known as the standards, are here reduced to very small 
dimensions, if not to mere points, and either extend 
horizontally or even hang down. 

The earliest species to flower, especially in the case 
of freshly imported bulbs, is I. alata which grows 
abundantly in some parts of eastern Spain, in Sicily 
and in particular on Mount Etna and in North Africa. 
The plant is dwarf, with large flowers, usually of some 


shade of blue-purple, though pure white specimens are 
not unknown. The name " alata " was given because 
the haft of the fall or outer segment of the flower 
expands into two large wings which fold round and 
enclose the style branch. A strong bulb of this species 
should produce two or three flowers in succession and 
from well ripened bulbs these often appear in November 
or December, though they may not come until after 

At the eastern end of the Mediterranean, along the 
Syrian coast, there grows a closely allied species, 
palestina. It is a slightly smaller plant than I. alata 
and the flowers vary very much in shade of colour and 
may be either blue, green or pale yellow. Botanically, 
the two species can only be separated by two minute 
differences. In the first place the stigma of I. alata 
is divided into two distinct lobes while that of I. pales- 
tina is entire and undivided. The other difference 
can only be seen with the aid of a microscope which 
shows that the curious processes which project along 
the centre of the haft of the fails are in I. alata only 
thickened in the upper part, while in I. palestina they 
swell out into spheres at their upper ends. 

In Asia Minor and north-western Persia there are 
a number of closely allied species which are usually 
grouped round the first to be discovered, namely, 
I. persica. This rare and rather delicate species has 
beautiful flowers of white and sea green with a con- 
spicuous blotch of brownish purple. Though it was 
in cultivation in the eighteenth century and formed 
the subject of the first plate in Curtis' " Botanical 


Magazine," yet it is still rare and seldom seen. The 
reason probably is that the bulbs need a heavy soil 
in which, in this country, they seldom get sufficiently 
baked and ripened in summer. Another difficulty is 
that when these bulbs are grown in heavy soil, it is 
almost impossible to dig them up with the roots intact, 
with the result that it is difficult to obtain anything 
but bulbs already weakened by the loss of their fleshy 
roots and the consequence is usually failure. 

I. persica flowers in February and March and with 
it come the rather more easily grown L stenophylla, 
with flowers of two shades of blue-purple and I. Tauri 
of a shade of red-purple veined with gold. 

All the Juno Irises hitherto mentioned seem to grow 
wild in that heavy red loam which is found among the 
rocks in the limestone districts round the Mediter- 
ranean. It is a curious fact that plants whose home 
is in this soil are difficult to keep in good health in this 
country. It may be that there is some constituent in 
the soil which is lacking here or it may be that in this 
country heavy soil is seldom baked so hard and dry 
for months together in summer as it is in the Mediter- 
ranean region. Even if these species are, as a rule, 
difficult to cultivate, instances are known where, in 
some sheltered comer, they flourish year after year and, 
when this is the case, they should be left undisturbed 
as long as possible. 

It is much easier to succeed with several fine species 
which have been introduced in recent years from 
Russian Turkestan, where the soil apparently is sandy 
in many parts. These plants accommodate them- 


selves to the conditions in our gardens much more 
readily and thrive amazingly in warm, light soil en- 
riched with humus or old manure and Ume rubble. 
The earliest of these to flower is I. Rosenbachiana, 
which can usually be depended upon to throw up its 
first flowers in the first days of the new year. The 
probabilit}^ seems to be that there are really two very 
similar species. The true I. Rosenbachiana {see fig. 8, 
p. 60), probably the earlier to flower, has golden pollen, 
a flower either white with a red-purple tip to the fall or 
wholly red-purple and foliage which is only just de- 
veloping when the flowers appear, while the other 
species of which the name is possibly I. baldshuanica 
or else I. hissarica is rather later to flower, has white 
pollen and flowers of any shade of blue or red-purple 
or even of a pale straw yellow, slightly veined with 
purple. The difficulty of determining the proper name 
of this species is due to the fact that both I. bald- 
shuanica and I. hissarica were very inadequately 
described by Russian botanists, dealing only with 
dried herbarium material. It is not easy to decide 
whether the early flowers with the golden pollen and 
the later forms with the white pollen belong to one and 
the same species, but at any rate the seeds of the two 
are indistinguishable and quite unUke those of any 
other iris. There are, undoubtedly, in the mountains 
of Turkestan, a number of species belonging to the 
Juno section which can only be properly grouped when 
brought into cultivation, so that their seeds can be 
examined and compared. 

Among the Juno Irises that we know compara- 


tively well there are at least three well-defined groups 
in which the difference in the seeds coincides with 
difference in the shape of the flower. Those species 
which have the broad wings of I. alata have spherical 
seeds and want heavy soil. Others have cubical seeds 
and a narrow haft and a large round blade to the fall, 
while the third type, which is represented in L Rosen- 
bachiana, has a broad strap-shaped haft and a small 
narrow blade to the fall and seeds with a conspicuous 
white excrescence. Of the group with cubical seeds 
the finest and possibly the easiest to grow is I. bucha- 
rica, a tall vigorous species from Bokhara, growing to 
a height of i8 inches or more and flowering in April 
with as many as five, six, or seven large flowers of 
white and deep yellow, set in the axils of the broad, 
glistening leaves. 

Closely allied to this are the deep yellow I. orchioides 
and the blue-purple L warleyensis. Of I. orchioides 
there are pale yellow and pure white forms, while it 
is quite easy to raise hybrids between any members 
of this group. A cross between I. bucharica and 
I. orchioides produces a wholly yellow flower of the 
size of I. bucharica and a plant at least equally vigorous, 
while the combination of the yellow of I. bucharica 
with the purple of I. warleyensis produces a whole 
series of intermediate forms which may be either 
yellow slightly tinged with green or brownish purple. 

Another fine Juno Iris is I. sindjarensis from the 
hills of north-western Mesopotamia. The flowers are 
strongly almond-scented and usually of a light blue- 
purple, though a white form is also known. This 


species belongs to the same group as I. alata and 
probably needs a heavier soil to do well than I. bucha- 
rica and its allies. I. sindjarensis has been combined 
by Mr. Hoog, of the Haarlem firm of Van Tubergen, 
with I. persica and its allied forms and has given rise 
to a series of hybrids which, in some soils, are very 
vigorous and free flowering. The best of these is 
probably that which is named Sindpers, of which the 
flowers are the nearest approach to a turquoise blue 
which is found in any iris. I. caucasica is an aUy of 
I. sindjarensis, with yellow flowers of a curiously 
transparent texture, while I. Tubergeniana is another 
yellow flowered species, distinguished by the possession 
of a scanty beard. 

Beyond the Caspian and in Afghanistan is found a 
very distinct species, I. Fosteriana, of which the falls 
are yellow and the comparatively large standards 
purple. The plant is also distinguished by the deep 
oUve green coats of the bulbs and is by no means easy 
to cultivate successfully in this country. It was first 
found by Dr. Aitchison, who accompanied the Afghan 
Boundarj^ Commission in 1885 and was named after 
Sir Michael Foster, whose garden at that time con- 
tained all obtainable species of Iris. 

Another and apparently very desirable species was 
named after Dr. Aitchison — I. Aitchisoni. Of this 
the purple form is found on the Salt Range of the 
Punjaub, while the yellow form is common in the 
neighbourhood of Rawal Pindi. Unfortunately this 
Iris has not been in cultivation in this country for 
many years now and efforts to obtain it have usually 


hitherto been unsuccessful. Until it is better known, 
it is uncertain in which group of the section it should 
be placed. 

I. Willmottiana is one of the most distinguished 
species of the section and comes probably nearest to 
I. caucasica. It has very broad leaves of dark green 
with a curiously polished surface. The flowers are 
of some shade of blue -purple with distinct white 
blotches which are rectangular rather than round in 
outline. Unfortunately this species, which was in cul- 
tivation some years ago, has now almost died out, 
probably because it needs a heavy soil and a thorough 
ripening which is so difficult to obtain for it in this 

All Juno Irises should be given a sheltered sunny 
position, for they flower in winter or in the early 
months of the year. If the early flowering species are 
unprotected, the foliage is apt to be damaged and then 
they are unable to form vigorous bulbs for the next 
year. When a suitable position is found and the 
plants are doing well, they can be left undisturbed for 
three or four years, at the end of which time they should 
be carefully lifted after the foliage has died entirely 
away, usually towards the end of June or early in 
July. When first dug up the fleshy roots are extremely 
brittle and no attempt should be made to separate 
the clusters of bulbs. It is better to wait a few days 
until the dry earth can be pushed out from among 
them with the aid of a pointed slip of wood and the 
separate bulbs carefully loosened from the mass and 
pulled apart, for it will be found that after a few days 


the roots are much tougher and less easily broken than 
when they are first lifted. The bulbs should then be 
stored in a dry place and replanted early in the autumn, 
the beginning of September being probably about the 
best time. 

Seeds are fairly easily obtained, especially if the 
flowers are pollinated by hand, and the ripe capsules 
contain a large number of seeds. These should be 
sown early in the autumn in well drained pots of rich 
soil, made porous by the addition of lime rubble and 
sunk to the rim in the ground in an open position. 
The seedlings will begin to appear early in the year at 
approximately the time when the plants themselves 
begin to grow above the surface. Immediately the 
points of the seedlings appear above the surface, the 
pots should be given the protection of a cold frame. 
There should be no attempt to coddle them and they 
should always be given plenty of air. It is merely 
necessary to keep a sharp look-out for slugs which are 
very fond of the young shoots and to water the pots 
occasionally until the foliage shows signs of turning 
yellow and withering. Then the frame should be per- 
manently covered with a light and the pots kept abso- 
lutely dry until the following September, when the light 
may be removed for three or four months and then 
replaced when the young bulbs begin to grow. At the 
end of the second season the bulbs should be sifted 
out of the dry soil in the pots and planted in Sep- 
tember in the open in the positions in which they will 
begin to flower two years later. 


The various species of the Juno Section may be 
separated as follows :• — 

I. Flowers with lateral wings to the haft of the 
falls, which rise above and clasp the style branches. 
Seeds spherical. 

' Stem not apparent ; flowers raised 
above the ground by perianth tube 

, Stem some inches in height. 

I. ( Leaves broad with the upper part re- 
flexed. Pollen covered with short 

Leaves narrow, erect. Pollen covered 
with a raised network, arranged in 

Flowers with a scanty beard on blade of 

Flowers not bearded. 

Leaves without any distinct horny edge. 

Leaves with a distinct horny edge. 

Stem elongated ; leaves narrow and set 
far apart on the stem. 

Stem short ; leaves set closely together 
so as almost to hide the stem. 

5. [ Flowers uniform in colour. 
I Flowers conspicuously blotched. 

Flowers yellow, almost transparent in 

Flowers purple or lavender. 



L alata and I. pa- 

{see pp. 42, 50 and 

L persica 
{see p. 52). 

L Tubergeniana 
{see p. 54). 

L sindjarensis 
{see p. 54). 

I. Aitchisonii 
{see p. 55). 



I. Willmottiana 
{see p. 56). 

I. caucasica 
{see p. 56). 

I. Stocksii 
{see p. 57). 


II. Flowers with a narrow haft to the falls, without 
wings ; seeds cubical, without any conspicuous white 

' Bulbs with dark, olive-green skins ; falls I. Fosteriana 
yellow ; standards purple. {see p. 57). 

, Bulbs with Hght brown outer skins. i. 

I . ( Leaves without any conspicuous horny 

edge ; flowers a deep golden-yellow, I. orchioides 
pale yellow or white. {see p. 57) . 

Leaves with conspicuous horny edge. 2. 

Flowers white with a broad, yellow L bucharica 
blade to the falls. {see p. 58). 

Flowers purple with smaller, rounded L warleyensis 
blade. {see p. 59). 

III. Flowers with an oblong haft to the falls, which 
is usually slightly wider than the blade ; seeds with 
a conspicuous white ridge running half round the 

Pollen yellow ; plants early flowering. L Rosenbachiana 

(p. 60). 
Pollen white ; plants flowering a little L baldshuanica 
later. {see p. 61). 

/. alata. Poiret, 1789 ; called " winged " by reason 

of the large, conspicuous wings to the haft of the 

falls. Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Algeria and Tripoli. 

This Iris was already known to Clusius in 1576 and 

grows abundantly in some parts of Spain and on the 

slopes of Mount Etna. It is not, however, an easy 

plant to cultivate in this country, chiefly because 


imported bulbs usually arrive without their store- 
roots {see fig. 6, p. 40) and, though they may flower 
the first year, are usually too weak to do well after- 
wards. Another reason for their failure is that the 
foUage appears in November and December and is 
usually so damaged during the winter that no sound, 
plump bulb is formed for the following year. How- 
ever, in sheltered sunny comers bulbs do occasionally 
establish themselves and then flower regularly year 
after year. In such cases it would be well worth while 
to cover the bulbs in summer with sheets of glass in 
order to keep off as much rain as possible and to give 
them as long and as thorough a rest as our climate will 

I. alata has about six pointed, broad, reflexing leaves 
from the centre of which rise in succession two or three 
relatively large flowers. The colour is some shade of 
blue-purple and rarely a pure white. In all cases there 
is a central orange ridge along the centre of the falls. 

I. alata and I. palestina are separated from all other 
known Irises by the spines which cover their spherical 
pollen grains. 

I. palestina. Boissier, 1884. The coast of Palestine. 
This Iris is very closely allied to I. alata and apart 
from colour, the chief difference is microscopical 
(see p. 42). The stigma also of I. palestina is entire 
and undivided whereas in I. alata it tends to divide 
into two lobes. In I. alata the filaments of the anthers 
are covered with hair-like processes, which do not occur 
in I. palestina. 


The flowers of I. palestina are usually smaller than 
those of I. alata and are much more variable in colour. 
They may be either blue, green or yellow. It is a 
difficult plant to manage for the reasons given under 
I. alata. When imported bulbs can be obtained in 
good condition, they are valuable as producing flowers 
in December and January. 

/. persica. Linnaeus, 1753. The mountains of Asia 
Minor and Northern Persia. 

This strikingly beautiful little species was known to 
Parkinson in 1629 ^^^ provided the first plate in the 
" Botanical Magazine " in 1787 but, as Parkinson 
found, it is a difficult plant to cultivate and does not 
flower freelj^ The reason for this is that it probably 
demands a heavy soil and a thorough rest in summer. 
These two conditions are difficult to fulfil in this 
country and any attempt to lift the bulbs usually 
results in the loss of the slender, fleshy, store-roots. 

The colour is white tinged with pale greenish blue 
or sea green. There is a conspicuous brownish crimson 
or purple blotch on the blade of the falls surrounding 
the end of a raised orange ridge, which runs back along 
the haft. The leaves of flowering plants are narrow 
and erect, becoming finally about six inches long. 
The stem is only an inch or two long. 

Besides the plant above described there are in Asia 
Minor a number of closely allied subspecies which 
differ chiefly in the colour of the flowers. The dif- 
ferences, which some authors claim to have found in 
the presence or absence of a white, homy edge to the 


leaves, seem not to be constant. The best known of 
them are : — 

1. Var. Tauri. Mallet, 1901. From the Taurus 
Mountains in Cicilia. Flowers deep, reddish -purple 
veined with white along the haft and on the area round 
the end of the orange central ridge. 

2. Var. stenophylla. Haussknecht and Siehe, 1900 
(syn. Heldreichii) . This narrow leaved variety comes 
also from the Cicihan Taurus and has flowers blotched 
with deep velvety blue on a light grey-blue ground. 
The central ridge is whitish, dotted with dark, purple 

3. Var. Sieheana. Lynch, 1904. Found by Siehe 
on the Taurus Mountains. The flowers are blotched 
with brown-purple on a grey or yellowish ground. 

4. Var. issica. Siehe, 1905. From the neighbour- 
hood of Issus in Cicilia ; a bright yellow variety. 

5. Var. galatica. Siehe, 1905. From Galatia near 
Angora and the river Halys. This is very similar to 
the variety Sieheana but the wings of the haft of the 
fall extend horizontally instead of clasping the style 

6. Var. Isaacsoni. Foster, 1892. Came from 
Southern Persia. The colour was a creamy white, 
tinged with green and there was no conspicuous blotch 
of deeper colour nor any well developed central ridge. 
This variety has never been reintroduced into culti- 

7. Var. purpurea. Siehe, 1905. From the neigh- 
bourhood of Erzinghan, in Armenia. This has flowers 
of a reddish - purple colour, which becomes darker 


on the blade of the faUs. This was the plant that 
Mr. C. G. van Tubergen crossed with I. sindjarensis 
to produce the hybrids Sindpur and Pursind, with 
flowers of an unusual amethyst shade of colour. 

/. Tubergeniana. Foster, 1899. From the neighbour- 
hood of Tashkent, in Turkestan. 

This species seems to be no longer in cultivation. It 
has bright yellow flowers, of a somewhat transparent 
texture, and is distinguished from all other Juno 
Irises by the fact that the central ridge of the falls 
breaks up into a few straggling hairs on the blade. 

The stem is not more than about four or six inches 
long and bears three or four flowers in the axils of the 
uppermost leaves. 

I. Tubergeniana is probably the plant that was 
originally described as I. caucasica var. major turke- 

/. sindjarensis. Boissier, 1884. From Djebel Sindjar, 
in northern Mesopotamia. 
This is, at its best, a fine, sturdy Iris with com- 
paratively large pale blue flowers, which are strongly 
scented, with a fragrance resembling that of almonds 
or vanilla. The texture of the flowers is somewhat 
delicate and, as the flowers appear in February and 
March, they need a sheltered position. The stem is 
six to nine inches high and the leaves eight to ten inches 
long by ij to two inches wide at the base. From 
three to six floweis are borne in the axils of the leaves. 
The wings of the falls are very large and meet over 


the style-branches. There is considerable variation 
in the shape of the blade of the falls, which is some- 
times very small, though in the best forms it is large 
and reflexed. The central ridge is a pale yellow. A 
pure white variety was in cultivation some years ago 
but it is uncertain whether this was identical with the 
plant described as I. assyriaca. L fumosa (Boissier and 
Haussknecht, 1877) seems only to have differed from I. 
sindjarensis in the smoky-yellow colour of its flowers and 
in that case could only be looked upon as a variety of it. 
The hybrid between I. sindjarensis and L persica, 
raised by Mr. C. G. van Tubergen is a most beautiful 
plant, especially when grown under glass. It flowered 
with me in a cold frame for some years and the flowers 
were of a wonderful turquoise-blue colour. In more 
recent years I have seen examples of this hybrid, which 
were certainly of a duller colour, though I have been 
unable to ascertain whether the change in colour was 
due to a difference of soil or whether there is more than 
one variety of this hybrid. 

I. Aitchisonii. Baker, 1875. Named after Dr. Ait- 
chison who discovered the plant near Rawal Pindi. 
This is a tall, slender Iris, growing as much as two feet 
in height, the leaves and the flowers in their axils being 
widely separated on the stem and not crowded together 
as in many other Juno species. The rather small 
triangular blade of the fall is of a darker shade than 
the rest of the flower, which is either yellow or purple, 
the former being found in the Park at Rawal Pindi and 
the latter on the MarquUah Pass. 


It is quite possible that there are other allied species 
along the North-west Frontier of India and it is a 
pity that few attempts have been made to bring them 
into cultivation in this country. 

/. Willmottiana. Foster, 1901. Named after Miss 
Ellen Willmott, the well-known garden amateur, 
who had a share in the expedition, which first dis- 
covered the plant near Tashkent. 
This species is remarkable for its broad, dark green 
leaves which expand so widely that they hardly appear 
to be channelled when fully developed. The wings on 
the haft of the falls are small compared with those of 
I. sindjarensis. The stem is about six or eight inches 
long and usually bears three or four or even six flowers. 
The colour is a blue-purple and on the blade there is 
a conspicuous white patch, blotched and veined with 
a deeper shade. It probably needs a rich, rather 
strong soil, for it is never vigorous in sand. 

/. caucasica. Hoffman, 1808. This is apparently the 

only Juno species found as far north as the 


There it is a small species with stiff, bright, glossy 

green leaves and only one or two or, at most, three 

flowers of a peculiar transparent greenish yellow. The 

central yellow or orange ridge on the falls is jagged 

and tends to split up almost into hairs. Farther 

south, in Asia Minor, larger forms have been discovered 

but their relationship to the type is not quite certain. 

The wings of the falls are very variable in size and in 

some cases only very slightly developed. 


/. Stocksii. Boissier, 1884. Named after Stocks who 
first collected the plant near Quetta in Beluchistan. 
It has never been in cultivation but is apparently 
very similar to I. caucasica except that the flowers 
are Hlac or purple. 

/. Fosteriana. Aitchison and Baker, 1887. Named 
after Sir Michael Foster and a very distinct species, 
by reason of the strange contrast between the 
large drooping purple " standards " and the yellow 
falls. It has a slender bulb with characteristic 
olive green coats. The stem is about six or 
eight inches long and bears only one or two 
flowers. The leaves are strongly ribbed on the 
under surface and are narrow and taper gradually 
to a point. 
I. Fosteriana is difficult to keep in this country. It 

probably needs a fertile, rather strong loam and a long 

period of absolute drought in summer. 

/. orchioides. Carriere, 1880. A native of Eastern 
Bokhara, it owes its name to the resemblance of 
its flowers to those of an orchid. The flowers are 
comparatively small, narrow and of no great sub- 
stance. The colour is either a deep golden-yellow, 
a pale lemon-yellow or white with a few green veins 
along the haft of the falls. In the yellow-flowered 
forms there is usually a green, brown or olive 
blotch at either side of the front end of the raised 
central crest. 
The flowers, to the number of three or four, are 

produced singly in the axils of the uppermost leaves. 


The perianth tube is nearly two inches long and the 
" standards " or inner segments of the perianth either 
extend horizontally or droop downwards. 

When this Iris was first discovered, it was confused 
with I. caucasica but it is distinguished by the absence 
of any wings to the haft of the falls and by the cubical 
and not spherical seeds. 

I. orchioides hybridizes freely with I. bucharica and 
the result is a large-flowered variety of a deep golden 
colour throughout. 

For hints on cultivation see I. bucharica. 

/. bucharica. Foster, 1902. A native of Bokhara. 

This fine species is very difficult to separate by any 
morphological characters from I. orchioides, except 
perhaps by the fact that the horny edge to the leaves 
is more marked and conspicuous in I. bucharica. As 
garden plants, the two are very different, I. bucharica 
being much more vigorous and floriferous. The bulbs 
are larger and stouter, the flowers are more numerous, 
for a strong specimen will bear as many as seven in 
the axils of the leaves and the individual flowers are 
larger with a much broader blade to the falls. The 
colour is white except for the blade of the falls which 
is a bright, clear yellow, sometimes marked with a few 
dark blotches near the end of the raised central crest. 

The stem is between a foot and eighteen inches in 
height and the largest leaves nearly twelve inches long 
by two or more in breadth {see fig. 8, p. 58). 

I. bucharica flowers in April and is perfectly hardy, 
at any rate in Surrey. The bulbs increase rapidly in 

To face p. 58. 

I. bucharica, a typical Juno Iris 

(Half natural size). 


a sandy soil well enriched with humus and containing 
some lime. They need only be lifted every three or 
four years when the bulbs have become crowded (see 
also p. 47). 

/. warleyensis. Foster, 1902. A native of Bokhara 
and named after Miss Willmott's garden at Great 
Warley in Essex. 

This species is obviously closely allied both to 
L orchioides and to I. bucharica. It differs chiefly in 
the very conspicuous white homy edge to the leaves 
and in its brilliant purple colour. The blade of the 
falls is of a deep velvety violet-purple, often edged with 
a narrow white line. The central crest is white and 
surrounding its outer end there is usually, but not 
always, a patch of bright orange. The stem is about 
a foot or eighteen inches in height and bears from three 
to five flowers. 

Seedlings have appeared in cultivation in which the 
flowers are either white with yellow blotches on the 
blade of the falls or wholly yellow. In the latter case 
the plant differs chiefly from I. orchioides in the pos- 
session of a rounded blade, which narrows abruptly to 
the haft of the falls instead of the narrow, almost 
oblong fall blade of I. orchioides. I am unable to say 
whether these white and yellow forms are merely 
colour mutations from the typical purple form or 
whether they are the result of hybridizations with 
some other species. Crosses between I. warleyensis 
and I. bucharica are usually vigorous plants of the 
shape and stature of the latter with a certain amount 


of dull purple or greenish marking on the falls, where 
the yellow of bucharica contends with the violet of 

I. Rosenbachiana. Regel, 1884. The name is derived 
from that of the Russian governor of Turkestan 
at the time when the plant was first discovered 
by Albert Regel and sent to his father at Petrograd. 
This is one of the most brilliant of all Irises. Early 
in the new year there appear broad nipple-shaped 
shoots covered with membranous whitish sheaths. A 
few days later the tips of the leaves burst through 
these sheaths and then the flowers shoot up on a 
perianth tube, which increases rapidly in length up 
to four or five inches. Two or three flowers appear in 
succession from a strong bulb and are very variable in 
colour. The broad strap-shaped haft of the falls ends 
in a somewhat narrow blade which bears a very con- 
spicuous golden crest. The colour of the blade is a 
briUiant dark crimson-purple and the rest of the flower 
is either white or faint purple. The " standards "are 
large for a Juno Iris and usually hang down round the 
perianth tube. The pollen is golden and this, together 
with the habit of flowering early before the leaves have 
developed, is the chief point of difference between 
I. Rosenbachiana and I. baldshuanica. After the 
flowering time, the leaves grow rapidly until they are 
nearly a foot long by two inches wide. If pollinated 
by hand, the flowers set seed abundantly and the young 
bulbs should begin to flower four or five years later. 
All attempts to cross this species with any other 

To face p. 60. 

I. Rosenbachiana. 

(Natural size). 


except I. baldschuanica have apparently failed hitherto 
and this evidence seems to prove that they form a very 
distinct subsection. This view is supported by the 
seeds which are very characteristic, with the creamy 
white ridge that nms half way round their circum- 

For the method of raising seedlings, see p. 48. 

/. haldshuanica. Fedtschenko, 1909. From the province 
of Baldshuan, in Russian Turkestan. 
This species differs from I. Rosenbachiana by having 
white pollen and by flowering a few weeks later, in 
fact, not until the leaves are a few inches in length. 
The shape of the flowers is identical with those of 
I. Rosenbachiana but the colour is very variable and 
may be of any shade of blue- or red-purple. The 
central crest is sometimes orange and sometimes lemon- 
yellow. In some forms the purple colour is reduced 
to a few veins on a pale ground. 


The Xiphium Section. 

Some botanists have used the word Xiphion to include 
all bulbous Irises, to whose bulbs no persistent fleshy 
roots remain attached in their resting period, but the 
Xiphium and the Reticulata section are so clearly 
distinct that it seems better to separate them under 
two names. The word itself is the diminutive of the 
Greek word for a sword (f/</)09) which was applied by 
Theophrastus to Gladiolus segetum, a common weed 
of Greek cornfields. The leaf of the gladiolus may be 
not inappropriately described as swordlike, for it has 
a long, narrow pointed blade with a raised or thickened 
midrib. This description, however, does not apply to 
either the Xiphium or the Reticulata Irises. The leaves 
of the former are narrow and channelled and end in 
a fine round point while those of the latter are four- 

The name Xiphium was adopted by Linnaeus but 
curiously enough he included under it the two plants, 
which are now known as the English and the Spanish 
Iris. They are, however, very distinct, quite easy to 
separate from each other and so different in their re- 
quirements that, if the soil of a garden is suited to one 
of them, the other will be a failure unless special pre- 
cautions are taken. 

To face p. 62. 

A bulb of 1. tingitana, 

showing method of increase by offsets. 
(Natural size^ 


I. xiphium prefers ground that becomes dry in 
summer and it needs a resting period of drought if it 
is to do well. Its home is in Spain, in North Africa, 
and in a few isolated and outlying localities in the 
south of France. I. xiphioides, on the other hand, 
the so-caUed Enghsh Iris, comes from the alpine 
meadows of the Pyrenees, where the underground 
moisture is never far from the surface. In this country 
it needs cool, moist conditions and is never happy in 
hot sandy soil, in which I. xiphium flourishes. 

The best botanist and gardener of the latter half of 
the sixteenth century was probably Clusius, whose 
books on the plants of Spain and Central Europe are 
full of first hand observations, which show that they 
were not merely compilations from other sources. 
Clusius knew the difference between I. xiphium and 
I. xiphioides, for he remarks of the latter that the seeds 
rattle when the ripe capsules are shaken. At first 
apparently he knew only I. xiphium and then heard 
of I. xiphioides as growing near Bristol, whence it was 
subsequently sent to him. In those days Bristol was 
an important centre for the trade with Spain and some 
bulbs were apparently brought from the Pyrenees and 
planted in gardens in the town and it is to this fact 
that the plant owes its common name of the Enghsh 

These two Irises soon gave rise in cultivation to 
many garden varieties, as plants usually do when 
raised repeatedly from seeds, and they had become 
comparatively common garden plants in this country 
by the beginning of the eighteenth century. In spite 


of this fact Linnaeus seems to have confused the two 
species. The obvious points of difference between 
them are the larger bulb of xiphioides, the shape of 
the segments of the flower and the fact that no yellow 
varieties of xiphioides have ever been known to occur. 

The difference in the cultural requirements of the 
two species has already been noticed, while in the 
actual flowers the points of difference are the tube 
which in I. xiphioides separates the ovary from the 
base of the segments and the broad wings of the haft 
of the falls, which rise above the style-branches. The 
standards, too, of I. xiphioides are broad and rounded, 
while those of I. xiphium are comparatively narrow 
and taper to a point. The ripe capsules, also, are very 
different. That of I. xiphium is long and narrow with 
cubical or rather thick D-shaped seeds, while that of 
I. xiphioides is much more inflated, wider at the 
middle and tapering to either end and contains much 
larger spherical seeds. 

In the wild state I. xiphioides does not appear to 
vary much in colour, but is nearly always a deep blue 
with an occasional white form. In cultivation, how- 
ever, many colour forms have arisen until there are 
varieties of almost every shade of blue and red-purple. 
A curious fact is that, though, when the seedHngs first 
flower, the colours are uniform, they subsequently 
become streaked and flecked with deeper shades, as 
also happens with cultivated varieties of TuHp and 
Freesia. This is not improbably due to some kind of 
disease, which is conveyed from bulb to bulb by green 
or grey flies, which settle on them when they are 


stored and lifted in summer. For a selection of 
varieties, see p. 70. They differ from each other only 
in colour and there seems to be no variation in size, 
shape or habit. 

I. xiphium, on the other hand, has given rise to a 
very large number of garden varieties, which differ in 
size and time of flowering as well as in colour. This 
is, no doubt, partly due to the fact that in nature large 
early flowering forms are found growing in lower and 
warmer localities, while high up on the mountains 
forms are found with small flowers, which do not open 
until August or even September. Moreover, though 
most of the wild plants are of some shade of blue- or 
slate-purple, yellow flowers are not unknown, es- 
pecially in Portugal near Lisbon and Cintra, whence 
they have been described as L lusitanica. The cross 
fertilisation of the blue and yellow forms and the use 
of wild forms from various localities have produced 
endless variation. 

In recent years a set of new varieties has been intro- 
duced into commerce under the name of Dutch Irises, 
so-called from the fact that they were raised by Mr. 
Hoog in the gardens of the well-known Haarlem firm 
of C. G. van Tubergen, junr. When these first ap- 
peared they were said to be hybrids of various species 
of the Xiphium section, though there was no internal 
evidence of this. Subsequently, however, some blue- 
purple varieties appeared, which clearly showed the 
influence of I. tingitana, both in the shape of the falls 
and in the presence of a tube between the ovary and 
the base of the segments. A further confusion had 


arisen because they were raised by using as a seed 
parent a plant, which was known as I. filifolia though 
it has nothing whatever to do with the true species of 
that name and is merely an early flowering, vigorous 
form of I. xiphium. 

The fact is that I. xiphium stands quite alone in the 
section by reason of the absence of any linear tube 
between the ovary and the segments of the flower. 
There is the short, broad, funnel-shaped tube from 
which spring the standards and the falls and this also 
occurs in all the other species of the section, though 
in every case it is separated from the ovary by a 
slender, linear tube. When I. xiphium is crossed with 
any other species of the section, its effect is to shorten 
this linear tube to half its length in the other species 
and good examples of this can be found in two or three 
of the varieties of Dutch Irises. For a hst of varieties 
see p. 73. 

Among the other species of the Xiphium section the 
best known is I. tingitana, which, as its name implies, 
comes from Tangiers. It has large blue-purple flowers 
with a central yellow line on the pointed falls and it 
has the advantage and disadvantage of flowering very 
early. It is an advantage in that the bulbs can be 
induced to flower very early under glass without 
forcing them unduly, while it is a disadvantage because, 
when the flower buds appear in April in the open, they 
are apt to be caught and killed by late frosts. The 
Dutch varieties escape this fate by not flowering as a 
rule till after the 20th of May and the Spanish Irises 
are even later and their flowers rarely open until the 
early days of June. 


As might be expected of a native of Tangiers, I. tin- 
gitana needs a very thorough ripening in summer, if 
it is to flower well. In this country this can only be 
obtained by artificial means and the bulbs should be 
lifted as soon as the foliage begins to turn yellow in 
July or August and stored in dry sand in a warm place 
until November, when they should be replanted in a 
sheltered sunny position in Hght soil, well enriched 
with humus and not deficient in lime. For forcing 
under glass imported bulbs are used and they are 
probably grown in the south of France where they 
obtain naturally the essential ripening. 

North Africa is the home of I. filifoha, though the 
plant is found also in the south of Spain near Ronda 
and on the rock of Gibraltar. It grows about a foot 
or fifteen inches high and is distinguished by its rich, 
red-purple colour with a central orange blotch, usually 
surrounded by a curious bluish halo. It is a pity that 
this fine species seems delicate in its constitution, 
though I am not satisfied that this is really the reason 
why it died out, some years after I had successfully 
raised it in large numbers from imported seeds. I am 
inclined to think that it fell a victim rather to an 
attack of some disease, with which all my Xiphium 
Irises became infected. 

The other species of the section are the golden-yellow 
I. juncea from Sicily and North Africa, I. Boissieri 
from the Serra de Gerez, in Portugal, and I. Fontanesii 
from Algeria. With regard to the last named there 
is some uncertainty. Some years ago, when I had an 
opportunity of examining in the Paris herbarium, the 


dried specimens on which Grenier and Godron based 
their description, I felt justified in thinking that they 
were merely examples of I. tingitana. Since then, 
however, I have seen living specimens of a light blue- 
flowered species, which closely resembles I. xiphium 
except in the possession of a linear perianth tube 
between the ovary and the base of the segments of the 
flower. This plant is, I now think, distinct from 
I. tingitana from which it differs by its more slender 
habit and by the small, rounded blade to the falls, 
which in I. tingitana are large and pointed. It is to 
be hoped that before long specimens of the two plants 
will be grown side by side so that it may be possible 
to decide with certainty whether I. Fontanesii deserves 
to rank as a distinct species or merely as a slender local 
form of I. tingitana. 

Key to the species of the Xiphium section. 

Falls with a short, broad triangular haft I. xiphioides 
and a large circular blade. (p. 69). 

Falls with a long, oval haft separated 

from the blade by a narrow neck, i. 


' Perianth tube short, funnel-shaped, I. xiphium 
broad. (p. 71)- 

Perianth tube at least Jin. long, linear, 
slender. 2. 

2. ( Bulbs with a hard, leather^' skin. I. juncea 

(P- 73)- 
Bulbs with a thin, membranous skin. 3. 


To face p. 68. 

I. xiphioides, the "English" Iris. 

(Two-thirds natiiral size). 


3. ( Falls bearded. I. Boissieri 

(P- 74)- 
> Falls not bearded. 4* 


Standards broad and rounded at the top. I. filifolia 

(P- 75)- 
. Standards pointed at the top. 5. 

5. j Falls pointed, plant large and robust. I. tingitana 

(p. 76). 
Falls rounded, plant slender, I. Fontanesii 

(P- 77)- 

/. xiphioides. Ehrhart, 1792. The Pyrenees. 

This species is sometimes known as I. anghca, the 
English Iris, a name which doubtless originated in the 
fact that in the latter half of the sixteenth century it 
was already in cultivation near Bristol. It was there 
that Clusius first heard of it and included it in his 
" History of Spanish Plants " because he rightly 
imagined that it had been brought to Bristol from the 
neighbourhood of the Pyrenees. 

Its real home is in the Alpine pastures, where there 
is always moisture beneath the surface of the soil and 
this fact must be remembered in cultivating this Iris, 
for it will not succeed in hot and dry situations. It 
needs a cool moist soil. 

The deeply channelled, tapering leaves grow to a 
length of twelve or eighteen inches and the stem is 
somewhat shorter. It bears only a terminal head of 
two or three flowers. The spathes are keeled, three 
or four inches in length, and the ovary is raised on a 
pedic 1 one to three inches long and separated from 
the base of the flower by a perianth tube of quarter 
to half-an-inch. 


The falls have a broad rounded blade and con- 
spicuous wings to the haft which rise above the style 
branch on either side. The standards are much 
shorter than the falls and have a rounded blade. 

In the wild state the colour is usually a deep blue- 
purple, though albino forms are not unknown. In 
cultivation a wide range of colour variations has 
appeared from the deep blue of the wild plant through 
lighter and slatey shades to mauve and white. The 
streaks and flecks which disfigure many of these Irises 
in our gardens are probably due to a disease, which is 
spread by white or grey flies, which attach themselves 
to the bulbs when they are out of the ground during 
the resting season. The nature of the disease is still 
obscure and the only escape from it seems to be to 
raise seedlings and to protect the bulbs from insect 
attacks whenever they are lifted. They need not be 
lifted more than once every two or three years and 
should then be stored in dry sand or closed paper bags 
with Naphthaline until they can be replanted. 

I. xiphioides is the only species of the Xiphium 
section, of which the shoots do not appear above the 
ground until the new year. It is therefore extremely 

Good garden varieties are : — 

White : Mont Blanc and Mer de Glace. 
Deep Blue : King of the Blues, OtheUo. 
Red-Purple : Beethoven, Thackeray, P. C. Hooft. 
Light Blue : Bleu celeste, Tantalus. 


/. xiphium. Linnaeus, 1753. Spain, Portugal and 
North Africa. 

The name ^L(f)iov seems to have been used by Theo- 
phrastus for the plant which we now know as Gladiolus 
segetum and it is uncertain how it came to be trans- 
ferred from a plant with the flat swordlike leaves of 
the Gladiolus to the narrow, pointed, channelled leaves 
of I. xiphium, the Spanish Iris. 

Linnaeus appears not to have drawn any clear 
distinction between I. xiphium and I. xiphioides, 
though Clusius had already pointed out the difference 
in his " History of Spanish Plants " (1576) by noting 
that the ripe seeds rattle when the capsules of I. xiph- 
ioides are shaken. This is impossible in the narrow 
capsules of I. xiphium. 

In wild specimens of this Iris the small round blade 
of the fall is separated by a sharp constriction from 
the long oval haft and the standards are rather narrow 
and pointed. This is the only species of the section 
in which there is no linear perianth tube between the 
ovary and the segments of the flower. They are only 
separated by a short, broad funnel-shaped tube on 
to the surface of which drops of nectar exude, as in 
I. spuria. Somehow or other the presence of this 
nectar is noticed by ants which sometimes swarm up 
the stems in search of it. 

The colour of the flowers of wild plants is usually 
a blue-purple or a pale slate-blue. At low levels the 
flowers are large on strong vigorous plants which 
bloom in April, while high up on the mountains the 
plants are slender with small flowers, which do not 


appear until August or later. I. xiphium is found 
distributed all over Spain. It also occurs on the coast 
of Herault in the south of France and in Algeria. 
Yellow flowered forms, to which the name of I. lusi- 
tanica has been given, occur in Portugal near Cintra 
and Lisbon, but colour alone would not justify us in 
regarding them as constituting a separate and distinct 

In recent years a large and early flowering form, 
which is best distinguished as I. xiphium praecox, has 
been hybridized with various garden varieties and 
produced the majority of what are known as the 
Dutch Irises (see p. 65). This I. xiphium praecox was 
known to the trade growers as I. filifolia (see p. 75), 
but it is readily distinguished from that species by the 
absence of any linear perianth tube between the funnel- 
shaped base of the segments of the flower and the top 
of the ovary. This difference will be appreciated if 
the figure of I. juncea (p. 74), which has the linear 
perianth tube, is compared with that of I. xiphium 
(p. 72), where the ovary protrudes from the spathes and 
comes immediately below the broad base of the petals. 

There is no difficulty in the cultivation of I. xiphium 
provided that the soil is well drained and warm. 
Where rainfall is heavy, it would probably be desirable 
to lift the bulbs when the foliage turns yellow in July 
and August and store them in dry sand in a warm 
place until the beginning of October. This will ensure 
the proper ripening of the bulbs and it will also be 
found that bulbs so ripened start into growth later 
and so escape to some extent the danger of damage 


To face p. 72. 

I. xiphium, the Spanish Iris. 

(Slightly reduced). 


from hard frost in winter. If the soil is deficient in 
lime, it should be added in the form of old mortar 
rubble or powdered chalk. 

Some of the best of the older Spanish Irises are : — 
White : British Queen, King of the Whites, praecox 

alba, Queen Wilhelmina. 
Yellow : Belle Chinoise, Cajanus, Leander, lusi- 

tanica, Walter T. Ware. 
Blue : Excelsior (very tall), King of the Blues, 

Pale Blue : Souvenir, Sweet Lavender. 
Bronze : Thunderbolt, Reconnaissance, Hercules. 
These all flower in the first half of June. 
Of the Dutch Irises, which begin to flower towards 
the end of May, good varieties are : — 

Yellow : Van der Heist, Jan de Bray. 

White and Yellow : Van Everdingen, Albert Cuyp. 

Blue : Rembrandt, Anton Mauve. 

/. juncea. Poiret, 1789. This Iris is so-called from its 
narrow, rushlike leaves. North Africa, Sicily and 
possibly the Italian Riviera. 

This species is not as well-known in cultivation as it 
deserves to be, probably because its bulbs do not 
multiply very rapidly by offsets, though they set seed 
very easily and seedlings are not difficult to raise. 

The bulbs are quite characteristic with hard, shell- 
like outer coats, which split at the apex into a number 
of stiff bristles. The leaves are slender and as much 
as 24 inches in length when full grown and the stem, 
which usually bears two flowers, is about a foot in 


height. The slender perianth tube is one to two inches 
long. The colour of the flowers is usually of a deep 
golden yellow, though the texture is somewhat thin 
and flimsy. The blade of the falls is large and almost 
circular while the standards are comparatively short 
and tend to spread outwards instead of standing erect. 
Some pale yellow forms from North Africa have 
been named numidica and Mermieri but they were 
merely colour forms of the species. Unless the position 
in which this^Iris is grown is exceptionally warm and 
dry in summer, the bulbs should be lifted when the 
foliage turns yellow, stored in dry sand in a wann 
place and not replanted until late in October. 

/. Boissieri. Henriques, 1885. Named apparently 
out of compliment to Boissier, the Swiss botanist. 
Found only on the Serra de Gerez in Portugal, at 
a height of 2,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level. 

This Iris is remarkable for its beard of thin, scat- 
tered yellow hairs and for its brilliant colouring. The 
falls are of blue-purple, the style branches red-purple 
and the standards blue-purple above and red-purple 
at the base. 

The foliage is slender and overtops the stem which 
is about a foot or rather less in height. The slender 
perianth tube is one-and-a-half to two inches in length. 

This species seems to be the most tender of all the 
Xiphium Irises, for it has been killed outright in winters 
of no exceptional severity. The bulbs should, in any 
case, be lifted annually as is advised for I. juncea and 
replanted as late as possible. This means that they 


To face p. 74. 

I. juncea. 

|T\vu-thiids natural size). 


should be kept out of the ground so long as they remain 
plump and dormant but they must, of course, be re- 
planted when they show signs of making growth. The 
position should be sunny and sheltered and the bulbs 
seem to require a fair amount of moisture when growth 
is rapid in the spring. The flowers appear early in 

I. filifolia. Boissier, 1839 — 45- So-called on account 
of its narrow foliage. The south of Spain and 
North Africa. 

This is one of the finest and most richly coloured of 
the Xiphium Irises and it is a pity that it is so little 
known, chiefly because the trade growers have for 
years supplied in its place an early flowering, robust 
variety of I. xiphium. 

Bulbs from the south of Spain have flowers of a rich, 
red-purple with a broad orange blotch on the falls. 
Round this blotch there is usually a halo of blue. The 
perianth tube is long and slender and the standards 
are broad and rounded at the top, not pointed as in 
I. tingitana and I. Fontanesii. A blue form appears 
also to be found in North Africa. 

The foliage is slender, about 12 to 18 inches long in 
the case of flowering bulbs but considerably longer 
when no flower stem is produced. 

For some years I had no difliculty in cultivating this 
species, of which I received both bulbs and seeds from 
Gibraltar. Eventually they succumbed to a disease, 
which I was unable to identify. It was, however, 
equally fatal to the most robust Spanish and Dutch 


Irises and I see no reason why we should not succeed 
in growing this fine species, if a fresh supply of bulbs 
or seeds could be obtained. It would probably be 
safer to lift the bulbs annually. 

I. tingitana. Boissier and Renter, 1852. The neigh- 
bourhood of Tangiers, from which it obtains its 

This is the largest and finest of all the Xiphium 
section but it needs great heat to ripen the bulbs and, 
though they grow well and increase rapidly, it is only 
in exceptionally favourable seasons that they are 
induced to flower. Even then the flowers appear so 
early in May that there is always a risk that the buds 
will be destroyed or crippled by late frost in April. 
In the south of France, of course, this species succeeds 
magnificently and in recent years bulbs imported from 
the south have been grown under glass in this country 
with considerable success. Unfortunately these bulbs 
are only too often infected with a disease, which spoils 
the clear colour of the flowers and makes them streaky 
and mottled. The foliage, too, is yellow in patches 
instead of a uniform glaucous green. The disease has 
not yet been determined and no remedy is known. 

The stem is 18 to 24 inches long, overtopped by the 
sturdy foUage and bears two flowers. Of the falls the 
haft is purplish but the large blade is of a light blue 
v/ith a central ridge of deep orange - yellow. The 
blade is not circular but tapers to a point as do also 
the light blue-purple standards. The perianth tube 
is nearly two inches in length in a well-grown specimen 


and its influence is so strong in hybrids that, when 
I. tingitana is crossed with L xiphium, the resulting 
seedhngs all possess a tube nearly an inch in length. 

/. Fontanesii. Grenier and Godron, 1852. Named out 
of compliment to Desfontaines, who first collected 
specimens in Morocco. 
This species has been wrongly identified with L tingi- 
tana. It resembles a slender growing form of that 
species and agrees with it in possessing a linear perianth 
tube and tapering, pointed standards. The colour of 
the specimens, which I have seen, was a clear light 
blue with a central band of yellow on the rounded 
blade of the falls. 

Exceptional^ vigorous and well-grown specimens of 
I. xiphium and of I. tingitana will occasionally produce 
a flower on a short, upright, lateral branch a few inches 
below the terminal head of flowers and the effect pro- 
duced is then very similar to that of I. spuria [see also 
p. 19). 


The Evansia Section. 

This small group of some eight species is distinguished 
by the linear crest like a single cock's comb, which 
replaces the beard in Pogoniris. It was named in 
1 8 12 after one Thomas Evans of the India House and 
Stepney, in what is now the East End of London, in 
recognition of the fact that he had introduced into 
this country the first known member of the section, 
I. japonica, as well as many other plants. 

There are no European representatives of the section, 
which is confined to south-eastern Asia with the ex- 
ception of one or possibly two species in the United 
States of America. 

The question of the relationship of the Evansia 
Irises to the other sections of the genus is extremely 
interesting but it is equally difficult to arrive at any 
satisfactory conclusion. The only species which has 
been crossed is I. tectorum, which has been combined 
with the small I. pallida known as Loppio, and with 
the other bearded Irises. The result is always a 
sterile hybrid with a beard arising from the top of a 
crest. In the case of the Loppio x tectorum cross the 
influence of the pollen of I. tectorum was so strong that 
the flowers have entirely the shape of tectorum and 
not that of the seed parent. 


No general rules can be given for the cultivation of 
Evansia Irises and each species will therefore be con- 
sidered separately. For a key to the species, see p. 86. 

/. japonica. Thunberg, 1794. Central China and 

This species has a slender, greenish rhizone and 
large tufts of broad, dark green leaves with a polished 
surface. The flower stems, which usually appear in 
April, are much branched and, though the individual 
flowers are short-hved, they are so numerous that 
the display continues for some weeks. The flowers 
are flatter than those of the bearded species, of a light 
lavender colour, with a few darker blotches near the 
centre of the blade of the falls, which have a jagged, 
wavy edge. Along the centre of the haft there runs 
a white ridge or crest tipped with orange. The spread- 
ing standards are of the same colour as the falls. 

I. japonica is hardy in this country, at any rate in 
the south, though some forms are undoubtedly more 
liable than others to injury by frost. The fact that 
it is a commonly cultivated plant in Chitral shows that 
it is capable of resisting much greater extremes of heat 
and cold than any that we experience here but this is 
probably due to the thorough ripening of the rhizomes 
during the long summer drought and to the warmer 
conditions which prevail when once the spring comes. 

Some forms are more or less successful out of doors 
here but in this climate the plant is practically ever- 
green and the foUage is usually battered and browned 
by frosts when the flowers appear in April. If it 


cannot be grown in a cool house, it should be given a 
sheltered position, possibly among shrubs where it is 
protected from the morning sun. 

When I. japonica is grown under glass, it is easy to 
rest the plants in summer and to start them again in 
the late autumn. They should then flower in the 
early months of the year from fine tufts of new, glossy 

I. japonica does not appear to be fastidious as to 
soil, so long as it is supplied with adequate moisture 
during the growing season in spring and provided that 
the drainage is good. 

For some reason this Iris refuses to set seed in this 
country and it is to be desired that seeds from the 
East will one day be available in the hope that seed- 
lings grown here will give us even hardier plants than 
those which are already in cultivation. 

/. Wattii. Baker, 1892. Assam and south-western 
China. Called after George Watt, who collected 
a specimen of the species on Khongui Hill, Manipur. 

All that was known of this species for many years 
was one dried specimen in the Herbarium at Kew and 
it was difficult to decide whether to agree with Baker, 
who had doubtless seen it when it was fresh, and con- 
sider it distinct, or to identif}'^ it with I. Milesi or with 
I. japonica. It seemed different from both and yet 
it was not easy to define the difference. 

However, towards the end of 191 1 I received a small 
packet of seeds from P^re Ducloux, a French mis- 
sionary in Yunnan, and I saw at once from the seeds 


To face p. 80. 

I. Wattii. 

(One-tbiid natural size) 


that, if they were those of an Iris, they were those of 
a species hitherto unknown to cultivation. The seeds 
germinated readily in the open and the plants grew 
rapidly and flowered in April, 1914, in their second 
year. Owing to the plant's extraordinary habit of 
forming stems one year and of flowering from their 
extremities in the following April, it is obvious that it 
is only in the mildest of winters that the plant is a 
success in the open. The plant grows very rapidly. 
The new growths appear about April or May and by 
September the stems are two feet or more in height 
with very broad, long leaves. There are five to seven 
leaves in each tuft, twelve to eighteen inches long and 
as much as three inches broad. 

Planted out in a cold Alpine house in light rich soil, 
I. Wattii is a great success, for the tufts of leaves are 
then crowned with the branching inflorescence of white 
flowers, faintly tinged with pale mauve. The shape 
is similar to that of the flowers of I. japonica. The 
falls have an oblong blade with a wavy edge and a 
small erect orange crest in the centre of a small orange 
blotch. The pale mauve style branches end in large, 
jagged crests which rise prominently in the centre of 
the flower {see fig. 12, p. 80). 

/. tectorum. Maximowicz, 1871. Central and south- 
western China. So called because it is grown on 
the ridge of thatched roofs in Japan. 
This is perhaps the best garden plant in the Evansia 
section. The rather broad leaves, which are thin and 
strongly ribbed, grow to about eighteen inches in 


length and the branching stem to about fifteen. The 
flowers are of a deep Hlac or blue-purple and quite flat 
in outline, since the standards are extended almost 
horizontally. The blades of the falls are always 
mottled and blotched with a darker shade on a lighter 
ground and there is a conspicuous, jagged white crest, 
flecked with brownish purple. There is also a very 
beautiful albino form, which is wholly white, except 
that the markings on the crest are, in this case, yellow. 

It is not a difficult plant to cultivate provided that 
it is well ripened in summer and grown in fairly rich 
soil. It seems to be very shallow rooting and for this 
reason should be frequently transplanted into fresh 
soil — an operation which is best carried out at the end 
of July or early in August, when root growth is active. 

I. tectorum is one of the many plants, which became 
known to us first as growing in Japan, though it is 
probably not a native plant there but an introduction 
from China. 

For hybrids of I. tectorum see p. yS. 

I. Milesii. Foster, 1883. Named after Frank Miles, 
who raised the plant about 1880 from seeds col- 
lected by his cousin in the Kulu district to the 
north of Simla. 
The growth of I. Milesii is like that of a large and 
vigorous form of I. tectorum with a stout, greenish 
rhizome. The branching stem grows as much as three 
feet in height but the flowers are relatively small and 
disappointing. They are of the same shape as those 
of I. tectorum but not so large and of a reddish shade 


To face p. 82. 

I. tectorum, a typical Evansia Iris. 

(Half natural size;. 


of purple with darker mottlings. I. Milesii is quite 
hardy and seeds readily in this country but all attempts 
to cross it with I. tectorum or with any other species 
have hitherto failed, though a hybrid between these — 
tectorum and Milesii — would most probably produce 
a very desirable plant. 

There is no difficulty in the cultivation of I. Milesii. 
It grows vigorously in any ordinary garden soil and, 
since its leaves die away entirely in the autumn, it is 
prepared to survive hard frost in winter. 

I. gracilipes. A. Gray, 1859. Japan. 

This slender little species is the only representative 
of the Evansia group which is confined to Japan, as a 
wild plant. It grows there in woodland glades with 
a rather cool aspect, and this gives us the clue to its 
proper cultivation here. It should have a moist half- 
shaded position in cool soil, rich in humus. In ap- 
pearance it resembles a miniature I. Milesii, about 
nine to twelve inches high, but is pecuhar in having 
spathes, which consist of one valve only. In this 
character it is unique among Irises. The colour is 
lilac or pinkish mauve and the small crested flowers 
are not more than one-and-a-half inches in diameter. 
The crest is orange and quite conspicuous and the 
stems are much branched. 

I. gracilipes should never be moved in the late 
autumn or winter, but in spring or summer, when 
growth is active. The slender rhizome sends out 
comparatively few root fibres and it is imperative to 
move it when these are being formed. If this Iris is 


moved later, it is unable to seize hold of fresh soil and 
almost invariably perishes in the winter. 

/. speculatrix. Hance, 1875. The island of Hong- 
Kong and the neighbouring mainland of southern 

This is one of the few Irises, which are extremely 
difficult, if not impossible, to cultivate and flower in 
this country, but this is hardly surprising when we 
remember that its home is in the Tropics. 

It is a slender plant about a foot in height, with 
bright red-purple flowers, with a patch of white on the 
blade of the falls at the end of the yellow crest. 

The plant is so imperfectly known that it is just 
possible that it does not belong to the Evansia Section 
at all. I once succeeded in raising some seedlings from 
imported seeds but the plants succumbed to frost 
before they reached flowering size. 

/. cristata. Solander, 1789. The south-eastern United 
States from Georgia to Ohio. The crested Iris. 
This species is very distinct from the Asiatic members 
of the Evansia Section. It is practically stemless and 
the flowers are raised above the ground, chiefly by the 
perianth tube, which is usually three or four inches 
long. The flowers are borne either singly or in pairs 
in the long, narrow, sharply keeled spathes and are of 
a light lilac shade. A central white ridge or crest runs 
along the haft of the falls. Along the haft it is tipped 
with orange but with lilac on the blade. There it is 
surrounded by a conspicuous patch of white edged 


with deep lilac or lavender, which gradually fades away 
towards the circumference of the blade. The standards 
extend almost horizontally and are uniform in colour. 

The slender, greenish rhizome runs rapidly and 
usually gives rise in the spring to about four new 
growths. Each of these grows horizontally for an 
inch or two and then throws up a vertical tuft of three 
or four leaves. Propagation is eas}^ if these new 
growths are severed and replanted immediately the 
flowers are over, for it is then that the roots are pro- 
duced from the base of each tuft of leaves. It is 
extremely difficult to establish the plant, if trans- 
plantation is attempted in the autumn or winter, for 
the emission of new roots only takes place during a 
short period in summer and it is only at the beginning 
of this period that transplantation is easy. 

I. cristata seems to like a cool, rather loose soil, 
which may be composed of gravel and humus. The 
position should be shaded during the heat of the day 
but this does not mean that the plants will prosper in 
dense shade or where they are closely overhung. 
Moisture at the roots is necessary, especially after 
transplantation, for a period of drought at that time 
would be fatal to the young plants, 

A white variety has been in cultivation from time 
to time, but it does not appear to be robust, though 
it may be that it has been lost by attempts to trans- 
plant it at the wrong season. 

/. lacustris. Nuttall, 1818. Named by reference to 
its home on the shores of the Great Lakes. 



This is apparently nothing more than a local, northern 
form of I. cristata. The latter is found as far north 
as Ohio, while along the shores of Lake Huron and in 
Wisconsin it is replaced by a smaller and more compact 
plant, of which the colour is usually darker, though 
there is some variation among seedlings. The two 
plants do not appear to differ in structure in any way, 
but merely in size and colour. The foliage of lacustris 
is not much more than half as long as that of cristata, 
which has leaves six or eight inches in length and its 
new growths are more densely crowded. 

I. lacustris should be treated precisely as I. cristata. 

The various species may be separated as follows : — 

Spathes with one valve only. 

Spathes with two valves. 
Stem produced in late summer. 

Stem produced in spring. 
Leaves persisting through winter. 




Leaves produced in spring. 

Plants stemless. I. cristata and I. 

Stems produced. 

Stems unbranched. I. 

Stems branched. 

Stem tall, flowers reddish purple, I. 
rhizome green. 

Stem shorter, flowers blue or white, I. 
rhizomes brown. 


(p. 83). 

(p. 80). 


(P- 79)- 

(pp. 84 and 85). 

(p. 84). 

(p. 82). 

(p. 81). 


The Pardanthopsis Section. 

As far as is known at present, I. dichotoma is the single 
representative of this section, which was named from 
the similarity of this Iris to Pardanthus or Belamcanda 
chinensis, a plant with foliage not unHke that of an 
Iris and flowers blotched with red on a yellow ground. 
Its seeds are enclosed in loose skins of a glistening blue- 
black and are sent from China from time to time as 
those of an Iris. The regular shape of the flowers 
shows, however, at once that the plant is not an Iris. 

I. dichotoma. Pallas, 1773. Eastern Siberia, Mongolia 
and Northern China. The name was given with 
reference to the regular forking or branching of 
the stem. 
This species is valuable for its habit of flowering in 
August and, although the individual flowers are not 
very large, yet the branching stem produces so many 
heads of flower that the displa\^ continues for several 
weeks. Unfortunately each inflorescence bears so 
many flowers that they seem to exhaust the energies 
of the plant, which usually dies after flowering without 
leaving any side growths for the following year. How- 
ever, seeds germinate readily and the young plants 


should flower in little more than a year from the time 
when the seeds germinate. 

The colour of the flowers is variable ; some speci- 
mens are white with a few brown-purple spots, while 
others are of a lurid reddish purple, with a central 
white blotch on the blade of the fall. 

The shape of the flowers is curious and characteristic, 
for the haft of the falls rises at an angle of about 
60 degrees but the blade is extended horizontally. The 
oval style branches grow together for a short distance 
above the base and divide at the apex into long and 
very narrow crests. The perianth tube is extremely 
short, less than one-eighth of an inch in length and the 
flowers twist spirally as they wither. Another pecu- 
liarity is that the unfertilized ovaries fall off at the 
slightest touch, whereas in all other Irises they remain 
attached to the pedicel. 

The stem is usually over two feet high and from its 
base spring the fan-shaped cluster of six or eight 

I. dichotoma needs a warm, sunny position but does 
not seem to be exacting as to soil. Care should be 
taken, however, to give it enough moisture to enable 
it to flower well in August. It must not be allowed 
to get too dry during the growing season. 


The Apogon Section. 

This section, the largest in the genus, may be defined 
as containing all rhizomatous species of which the falls 
are neither bearded nor crested. It comprises more 
species than any other section but seems to split up 
naturally into a number of small subsections, of which 
the individual members are closely related to one an- 
other. For reasons given in Chapter III, it would 
seem that the Apogons are perhaps the oldest of all 
Irises, though there are among them at least two sub- 
sections, which have developed in comparatively recent 
times. In south-western China there are a number of 
local species of restricted distribution closely allied to 
L sibirica while in California there is another very 
characteristic group of species all of which are very 
closely related to one another. 

On the other hand there are also in the section a 
number of single species, which appear to stand quite 
by themselves, for they have no distinctive characters 
in common with any other species. 

It will perhaps be best to deal with each of these 
small subsections separately because the treatment of 
all the members of each is in nearly every case sub- 
stantially the same. 


The Sibirica Subsection. 

All the members of this group with the exception of 
the Himalayan I. Clarkei and the American I. pris- 
matica have hollow tubular stems and differ in this 
character from all other Irises. They like a cool, 
moist soil rich in humus, though most of them will 
hold their own in any well-cultivated ground, enriched 
with a liberal proportion of old leaf soil or weU decayed 
manure. They can be moved when growth is begin- 
ning in spring but there is a certain risk attached to 
the proceeding, especially if it is followed by a period 
of drying winds, before the plants have been able to 
push out their new roots and obtain a firm hold of 
the ground. On the whole, it is better to move them 
in September, especially when the weather is showery. 
It need hardly be added that, if the season is hot and 
dry, transplantation should be postponed until rain 

Increase by seeds is easy and fairly rapid, since the 
young plants should, if well treated, begin to flower in 
their second year. The drawback to this method of 
increase is, of course, that specially fine forms do not 
always reproduce themselves from seed, though there 
is a good chance of obtaining equally good, though 
slightly different, seedlings. 

The species from south-western China, such as 
Forrestii and chrysographes, produce fertile hybrids, 
when crossed together though sibirica x Wilsonii gave 


a sterile hybrid. These species also combine fairly 
readily with the Californian species but the hybrids 
are in all cases sterile. Thus I. chrysographes crossed 
with a flesh-coloured form of I. Douglasiana produced 
a beautiful hybrid of a crushed strawberry colour with 
much gold veining in the centre of the blade of the 
falls. L Clarkei also proved fertile to the pollen of 
I. Douglasiana and the leaves of the hybrid had the 
polished upper surface which is characteristic of 
I. Clarkei. I. Wilsonii x I. sibirica produced a very 
floriferous but sterile plant, with flowers like those of 
sibirica but with a yellow instead of a white ground 
underlying the blue. I. Wilsonii had also the same 
influence in a cross with L Delavayi, while I. tenax x 
I. Wilsonii produced a plant with masses of frankly 
ugly flowers, much dotted and speckled with purple 
on a yellow ground. This hybrid was likewise quite 

The species comprised in the subsection may be 
separated as follows : — 

Stems hollow. i. 

Stems solid. 7. 

' Standards or inner segments held erect. 2. 

Standards inclined outwards at angle of 

45 degrees. 4. 

Foliage dull green, both surfaces. 3. 

Foliage with polished upper surface, dull I. Forrestii 

under surface. (p. 98). 




Seed capsules on pedicels very unequal ; 
capsules short and broad ; stems 
much longer than the leaves. 

Seed capsules on pedicels not very un- 
equal ; capsules long and narrow ; 
stems about equal in length to the 

Foliage with polished upper surface, dull 
under surface. 

Foliage dull-green on both surfaces. 

5. / Stems much longer than the leaves ; 
seeds thin and circular. 

Stems about equal to the leaves. 

Pedicels short, tube long, seeds pear- 
shaped, flowers purple. 

Pedicels long, tube short, seeds cubical, 
flower yellow. 


Stems thin and wiry ; plant with widely 
running habit ; leaves dull on both 

Stems stouter ; plant compact ; leaves 
with glossy upper surfaces. 

I. sibirica 
(p. 92). 

I. orientalis 
(P- 93)- 

I. Bulleyana 
(p. 99). 

I. Delavayi 
(P- 95)- 

I. chrysograohes 
(p. 96). 

I. Wilsonii 
(P- 97)- 

I. prismatica 
(p. loi). 

I. Clarkei 
(p. too). 

/. sibirica. Linnaeus, 1753. Central Europe and 
This fine Iris seems to have no real claim to its name, 
for there is no evidence that it is really a native of 
Siberia. It was probably confused at an early date 
with the Siberian I. orientalis and the confusion, which 
then arose, still exists in gardens, though the two 
plants are really quite distinct. 


To face p. 92. 

I. sibirica. 

(About two-thirds nalural size). 


I. sibirica has tall hollow stems that rise well above 
the narrow grassy foliage and the comparatively small 
flowers emerge on long pedicels from short spathes 
which are wholly brown or scarious at flowering time. 
The seed vessels are broad and rounded and the seeds 
flat, thin and shaped hke a capital D (cf. the descrip- 
tion of I. orientalis, p. 94). 

The typical plant has blue flowers with a delicate 
network of blue veins on a white ground in the centre 
of the falls (see fig. 15, p. 92). There is a certain amount 
of variation in the shade of blue and in the height and 
size of the plant. There are also white forms, usually 
with a more or less pronounced tinge of mauve or 
lavender, caused by the presence of coloured veins and 
shading. Pale blue forms may be obtained by crossing 
the white and the blue varieties and I. sibirica also 
combines readily with I. orientalis to produce hybrids 
with the tall stem of the former and the large flowers 
of the latter. A judicious mixture will also produce 
pale sky blue forms of the hybrid between them. 

/. orientalis. Thunberg, 1794. Manchuria and Japan. 
This Eastern species differs from I. sibirica in having 
stems which are shorter or at any rate not longer than 
the leaves, of which, however, the upper third droops 
so that the flowers are raised above them. The foliage 
is broader than that of I. sibirica, and the flowers are 
relatively much larger than those of that species, the 
falls especially being broad and rounded. The spathes 
are broad and long, nearly wholly herbaceous at 
flowering time and often suffused with red-purple, a 


character which gave rise to the varietal name of 
sanguinea. The seed vessels are at least three times 
as long as they are broad and the seeds small and 
cubical, so that in these essentials I. sibirica and 
I. orientalis are very different. 

The typical form of this species has flowers of a rich 
blue-purple, through which the white ground shows 
at the centre of the falls, but there are also white 
forms, of which one has long been in cultivation under 
the name of Snow Queen. Crosses between this and 
the blue form produce hybrids with pale blue flowers 
and the species also crosses readily with I. sibirica 
{see p. 93). 

Our knowledge of the local forms of this species is 
by no means complete. Herbarium material is not 
very helpful and it is not easy to obtain seeds from 
wild plants. It is, of course, very difficult to import 
Uving plants from Corea and Manchuria, for plants 
with slender rhizomes such as those of I. orientalis and 
I. sibirica cannot be kept out of the ground and dry 
for any length of time and yet survive, while if they 
are packed in wet materials, they invariably get mouldy 
and succumb on the journey. 

There appears to be, however, in Corea a plant in 
some ways intermediate between sibirica and orientalis 
and distinguished by the green ground that shows up 
on the blade of the falls and along the haft. There is 
also in Japan a form with rigid, narrow foliage and 
dark richly-coloured flowers, which, however, was by 
no means floriferous in this country when I grew it 
some years ago. It would be extremely interesting to 


obtain collected seeds and to grow plants raised from 
them side by side in order to ascertain their points of 
difference and agreement, both with each other and 
with I. orientalis and I. sibirica. 

/. Delavayi. Micheli, 1895. Named after the Abb^ 
Delavaye, who discovered the plant in Western 
China. It grows in swampy ground in Sze-chuen. 

This fine species is larger and stronger than I. sibirica 
and grows to a height of three or four feet or even more 
in rich, moist soil. It agrees with I. sibirica in having 
a hoUow tubular stem but has broader leaves and long, 
green spathes, of which the outer valve is longer than 
the inner. The blade of the fall is longer and larger 
than that of I. sibirica and the white ground shows 
plainly in rather large and often oblong blotches, 
unobscured by any network of veins. The standards 
are rather narrow and extend at an angle of 45 degrees, 
instead of standing erect or even inclining inwards as 
do those of I. sibirica. The colour in the specimens 
first introduced was always a rich red-violet but in 
others raised from seeds sent home by Wilson there 
is considerable variation in all shades of blue and red- 

This latter form of I. Delavayi is a very desirable 
species for the bog garden, particularly as it flowers 
late in June and July, when I. sibirica is over. It is 
not so well adapted for cultivation in the ordinary 
border as is I. sibirica, for it must have abundant 
moisture during the growing season. If this is available, 
however, it is capable of producing a very fine effect. 


I. Delavayi can be crossed with I. Wilsonii which 
imparts its yellow ground to the flowers and it would 
doubtless also cross with other members of the sub- 

/. chrysographes. Dykes, 191 1. South-western China. 
The name was given to describe the flower which 
is veined with gold. 

This fine species has suffered very much from the 
fact that, when the first illustration of it appeared in 
the " Botanical Magazine," t. 8433, in 1912, it was so 
badly drawn that the figure was utterly unlike the 
plant. Indeed, so distorted was it that the author of 
the text, relying apparently on the plate and not on 
his recollection of the living plant, described it as like 
I. laevigata, with which it has nothing whatever in 

I. chrysographes is obviously allied to I. sibirica. 
It has the narrow, grassy, rather flimsy foliage, the 
hollow stem and the same close growing mat of slender 
rhizomes and the numerous root fibres of the moisture- 
loving species. The stem has thicker walls than has 
that of I. sibirica, but there is always an open channel 
running up the centre. In shape the flowers are not 
unlike those of I. Delavayi for the standards are poised 
at an angle of 45 degrees instead of being held erect 
as in I. sibirica and I. orientalis. The long blade of 
the falls is not extended as in I. orientaUs, but hangs 
perpendicularly and bears always a few, and some- 
times a large number of, golden streaks or veins, — the 
feature to which the plant owes its name. The tapering 


seed capsule and the flattened pear-shaped seeds 
readily distinguish this species from any other in the 

Cultivation is easy in any moist, cool soil, rich in 
humus. Plants should be moved and divided when 
necessary in early autumn, when the ground is moist 
and still warm, so as to encourage root growth before 
winter. Seeds germinate very readily and the young 
plants should flower in their second year. 

The colour of this species is always a rich, deep red 
violet, sometimes almost black. The central patch of 
golden veins is sometimes reduced to a single line but 
by selection it would doubtless be easy to obtain forms 
in which this striking feature became more pronounced. 

I. chrysographes crosses readily with L Forrestii to 
form fertile hybrids but hybrids with the Californian 
L Douglasiana and with L sibirica were sterile. It is, 
however, so fine a species in its wild form that it seems 
doubtful whether there is anything to be gained by 
crossing it, beyond, perhaps, a knowledge of its re- 
lationship to other species. 

/. Wilsonii. Wright, 1907. China, in western Hupeh 

and in Shensi. Named after its discoverer, E. H. 


In appearance this species might almost be described 

as a yellow-flowered I. chrysographes, for the standards 

are extended at the same angle and the foliage and 

habit are very similar. Botanically, however, it is 

quite distinct by reason of its long pedicels, which 

become eventually four or five inches long and raise 


the seed capsules above the dried remains of the long, 
narrow, tapering spathes. 

The standards are of a very pale cream, but the 
style branches are of a bright yellow. The pale yellow 
falls are veined in the bright yellow centre with a few 
fine broken lines of reddish brown beyond which the 
colour becomes a paler yellow, sometimes faintly 
veined with purple. 

The flowers are scarcely large enough nor of a clear 
enough colour to make the plant effective, but for 
garden purposes it can be utilized by hybridization to 
give a yellow, instead of a white, ground to the flowers 
of hybrids with such species as sibirica, Delavayi and 

Cultivation is easy in moist soil, rich in humus, 
where a good plant should send up a sheaf of stems to 
a height of about two feet or a little more. The grassy 
leaves are about the same length but reflex gracefully 
in the upper part. They have a slightly marked 
midrib, which at once distinguishes them from the 
only other known yellow flowered member of the 
sibirica group, namely I. Forrestii. 

Herbarium specimens seem to indicate that there 
may be purple flowered forms as yet unknown to 
cultivation or it may be that these specimens are to 
be assigned to I. chrysographes or to yet another 
unknown species. 

I. Forrestii. Dykes, 1910. Discovered by George 
Forrest on the Lichiang Range in north-west 


This is a more slender and more pleasing species than 
I. Wilsonii, with clear yellow flowers, sometimes but 
not always bearing a few, broken, inconspicuous 
purplish veins. The foliage is narrow with a glossy 
upper surface and the stems rise well above it to the 
height of fifteen to eighteen inches from the ground. 
The almost erect standards and the large seed capsules 
on short pedicels, not more than an inch in length, also 
help to distinguish I. Forrestii from I. Wilsonii. 

This species is a native of high alpine pastures at an 
altitude of twelve to thirteen thousand feet, where it 
is doubtless well supplied in spring and summer with 
moisture percolating through the soil. This fact indi- 
cates the treatment that it requires here, for it dwindles 
away in hard, dry soil. It must have abundant 
moisture during the growing season in a soil rich in 

There is considerable variation among seedlings, 
chiefly in the shape and size of the falls and it seems 
best to select those of a clear yellow and not the veined 
forms which sometimes occur. 

I. Bulky ana. Dykes, 19 10. 

When I first received this plant from Mr. A. K. 
BuUey, I understood that it came from the same 
region of Western China as I. Forrestii. Mr. Forrest, 
however, told me subsequently that he had no recol- 
lection of collecting such a plant and I am now inclined 
to think that it is a hybrid, though whether the cross 
was effected naturally in China or whether it occurred 
in this country, it is now impossible to tell. 


The typical plant is not unlike I. Wilsonii in growth 
and has spreading standards and falls. The former 
are of a uniform deep Ulac and the latter veined and 
blotched with blue-purple on a faint yellow ground. 
The plant is fertile but there is very great variation 
among the seedlings, some of which closely resemble 
I. Forrestii. The seed vessel is quite distinct from 
that of any other member of the group but this might 
well be the case with a hj^brid between two of its 

/. Clarkei. Baker, 1892. The neighbourhood of Dar- 
jeeling, particularly along the ridge of Tonglo, 
and the Chumbi valley. Named after J. B. Clarke 
who collected herbarium specimens in 1875. 

When Baker first described this Iris, he based his 
description very largely on a sketch by Hooker pre- 
served in the Kew Herbarium. At the edge of the 
sheet there is written very faintly in pencil "no beard 
or crest " but Baker failed to see the " No " and read 
it as " beard and crest." Accordingly he placed the 
plant in a Pseudevansia section and it was not until 
plants and seeds were obtained from Tonglo in 1907 
that the truth about the plant became known. 

I. Clarkei is at once distinguished from all other 
Asiatic members of the group by its solid and not 
hollow stem. The foliage is glossy on the upper 
surface and glaucous beneath, a feature which dis- 
tinguishes it from all but I. Forrestii, of which, how- 
ever, the foliage is much narrower. The narrow 
standards extend almost horizontally and the large 


drooping falls are very variously marked. A long 
series of plants collected on the Tonglo ridge succeeded 
for some years at Godalming, in Surrey, and showed 
how extraordinarily variable in colour L Clarkei can be. 
The flowers were of all shades of blue- and red-purple 
and the markings showed considerable differences. In 
some forms there was a distinct white patch at the 
centre of the falls, though in others it was almost 
entirely obscured by a fine network of veins. 

The flat, disc-like seeds are very distinct and could 
only be confused with those of I. Delavayi. I. Clarkei, 
however, is a much dwarfer plant with a branching 
stem about two feet long. Possibly this branching 
habit and its solid stem might justify its claim to 
constitute a separate subsection but both these char- 
acters appear in I. prismatica, the one American relative, 
and it seems best, or at any rate most convenient, to 
include both these species with the other sibiricas. 

/. prismatica. Pursh, 1814. The eastern United States, 

along the coast from Maine to Carolina. The 

name possibly alludes to the curious shape of the 


This species is the one American representative 

of the group. In appearance it looks Uke a small 

I. sibirica with tufts of foliage, which rise here and 

there, separated by the running rhizomes and not in 

dense clusters. The stem is about eighteen inches in 

height, solid and remarkably wiry and never apparently 

quite straight and upright but curved and bent in a 

curious and characteristic fashion. 


The small spathes are entirely scarious at flowering 
time as in I. sibirica and the flowers are raised on 
pedicels about one-and-a-half or two inches long. The 
standards are violet in colour and erect as in I. sibirica 
and the falls, which tend to reflex and curl in under 
the haft are veined with the same colour on a white 
ground. The buff-coloured, almost cubical seeds dis- 
tinguish it at once from all the allied Asiatic species. 

It is essentially a plant for the bog garden or at any 
rate for a position in a cool, moist soil, where it will 
obtain plenty of moisture throughout the growing 

The Spuria Subsection. 

The chief characteristics of the species, which form 
this subsection, are the curious formation of the 
ovary, which has two ridges running down each of its 
three angles (see fig. i6, p. io6), the semi-transparent 
parchment-like envelope which encloses each seed and 
the double-toothed stigma. In all other species the 
stigma is either a broad Up or a tongue-like projection, 
whereas in the spurias there is a sharp, projecting point 
beneath each of the two crests. 

A more striking feature of the group is the way in 
which the branches of the stem rise perpendicularly 
and lie close to the main stem so that the flowers 
appear one above the other as though they all sprang 
directly from the main stem. This arrangement is 
very obvious in such well-known plants as I. ochro- 


leuca and I. aurea. In all cases the blade of the falls 
is separated by a narrow neck from the oval haft and 
there is a striking resemblance between the flowers of 
some varieties of spuria and those of I. tingitana and 
of large forms of I. xiphium. Another curious point 
in common is that the spurias also resemble these 
species in the way in which drops of nectar are exuded 
on the outside of the base of segments of the flower. 

AU the species of the spuria subsection are easy to 
cultivate. They do well in good loamy soil as well as 
in sand enriched with humus and they will also flourish 
in stiff clay, provided that the position is sloping and 
the drainage adequate. It must, however, be remem- 
bered that the substance of the rhizomes is more 
fibrous and less fleshy than that of the Bearded Irises 
and that the rhizomes are therefore less able to retain 
their vitality, when out of the ground. We are obliged 
therefore to move the plants in the early autumn 
rather than in the height of summer, when the flowers 
have just faded. September is probably the best time. 
The larger plants such as ochroleuca, Monnieri, Monspur 
and aurea look exceedingly well when grown in large 
clumps in herbaceous borders. The rather stiff, taper- 
ing leaves grow to a height of three or four feet and 
the true gigantea strain of ochroleuca is quite capable 
of throwing up stems five feet in length. 

The various species of the spuria subsection may be 
separated as follows : — 

j' Stem very short. I. humilis 

(p. 105). 
[ Stem at least several inches long. i. 


1. 1 Stem flattened with a sharp flange down 
either side. 

Stem rounded without flanges. 

Spathes sharply keeled. 

Spathes rounded, not sharply keeled. 

Plant dwarf, stem less than lains., and 
so glaucous that it feels rough to the 

Plant more robust and not so glaucous. 
4. ( Stem unbranched. 

Stem usually branching. 

Blade of falls pointed ; flowers yellow. 

Blade of falls rounded ; flowers blue- 


Rhizomes densely clothed in diagonally- 
crossing fibrous remains of old leaves ; 
style crests very long and narrow. 

Rhizomes not clothed in fibrous remains 
of old leaves ; style crests short and 

Stem shorter than the leaves ; blade of 
fall very small and extended horizon- 

Stem longer than leaves ; blade of fall 
large and drooping ; not extended 

' Blade of falls long, with waved edge ; 
whole flower rich golden-yellow. 

, Blade of falls rounded. 

I. graminea 
(p. 105). 

I. Sintenisii 
(p. 106). 

I. Urumovii 
(p. 107). 




I. Kerneriana 
(p. 107). 

I. Farreri 
(p. 108). 

I. songarica 
(p. 108). 

I. halophila 
(p. 109). 


I. aurea 
(p. no). 



Flowers white and yellow ; seeds with 
very loose, almost colourless outer I. ochroleuca 
coats. (p. no). 

I Flowers blue-purple ; seeds light brown, I. spuria 
^ outer coats not very loose. (p. in). 

/. humilis. Bieberstein, 1808. Transylvania, southern 
Russia, and probably also the Altai region in 

This dwarf Iris has foliage not unlike a small form 
of graminea but, as no stem is produced, the flowers 
appear almost on the ground, being only raised by the 
long tapering neck of the ovary. On the blade of the 
falls the colour consists of purplish veining on a 
yellowish ground and the standards are a deep violet 
blue. It flowers late in May or early in June. 

I. humilis can hardly be called an ornamental 
garden plant but might be grown on a ledge in a rock 
garden where its flowers would be visible. It has been 
confused with I. ruthenica and with the narrow leaved 
forms of I. unguicularis but the double ridges on the 
ovary and capsule and the two, pointed, stigmatic 
teeth should easily distinguish it. 

/. graminea. Linnaeus, 1753. Southern and Central 

Europe and probably the Caucasus. So called on 

account of its grassy foHage. 

This curious Iris has the habit of hiding its flowers 

amidst dense tufts of leaves, which have a brightly 

polished upper surface, though the under surface is 

dull and slightly glaucous. The stem is unlike that 

of any other Iris, for it is much flattened and has a 


sharp ridge or flange running down either side. For 
cutting purposes this Iris is admirably adapted, for 
each stem bears a leaf which rises above the flower 
and in good forms the flowers have the fragrance of 
a ripe greengage. The quality and amount of the 
scent seems to vary in individual plants but good 
forms can be found among any batch of seedhngs. 
The leaves may be very narrow or as much as an inch 
in width and another curious feature is the variability 
of the spathes. One valve may be equal in length to 
the other or three or four times as long as the other 
and what is still more curious is that examples of 
both these extremes and of intermediate forms can 
often be found on the same plant. 

The blade of the falls is usually more or less veined 
with violet-blue on a white ground, while the standards 
and particularly the style branches are of a redder 
tone. There are, however, in the Balkans forms in 
which the flowers are almost wholly of a reddish-mauve 

/. Sintenisii. Janka, 1874. Southern Italy, the 

Balkans and Asia Minor. Named after Sintenis, 

a botanical collector. 

This plant is intermediate in appearance between 

I. graminea and a small I. spuria. Botanically it 

differs, and it may be easily recognized, by the sharply 

keeled green spathes. 

The flowers are somewhat small and slender, usually 
veined and minutely dotted with violet-blue on a 
white ground. The foUage is stiff and upright in the 


To face p. io6. 

Inflorescence of I. spuria (No. II) and seed-capsules of 
I. Sintenisii, showing double ridges at the angles. 

(Half natural size). 


Balkan forms but more inclined to droop outwards in 
fanshaped tufts held at different angles in plants from 
Southern Italy. Attempts have been made to dis- 
tinguish the two forms botanically but, though this 
difference in the foliage is a character that can be 
seen in plants growing side by side, it would probabl}?^ 
not appear in herbarium specimens. 

/. Urumovii. Velenovsky, 1902. Bulgaria. Called 
after Urumoff, who collected specimens near 
Trnovo in 1902. 

This slender little species is obviously closely related 
to I. graminea and to I. Sintenisii. It has exceptionally 
glaucous fohage, so glaucous that the leaves are dis- 
tinctly rough to the touch and appear a blue-grey near 
the base. The leaves are erect and slender, less than 
a quarter-of-an-inch in width and about a foot in 
length, thus overtopping the short stem, which bears 
two flowers. These are very similar to those of 
I. graminea, the blade of the falls being veined and 
minutely dotted with deep blue on white, while the 
standards and style branches are of a redder shade of 

From I. Sintenisii it may be distinguished by the 
absence of keels to the spathes, by its slender upright 
habit and by the fact that its leaves die away entirely 
in the autumn, while those of Sintenisii remain erect 
and more or less green until the spring. 

/. Kerneriana. Ascherson and Sintenis, 1884. Asia 
Minor. Named after Kemer, an Austrian botanist. 


This is a small Iris with a stem of some six to twelve 
inches in length bearing two yellow flowers with 
pointed, lance-shaped blades to the falls. It must be 
very similar to I. Sintenisii except for the colour of 
the flowers, for the shape of the falls and for the fact 
that the spathe valves are not sharply keeled. It is 
probably not in cultivation in this country at present. 

/. Farreri. Dykes, 1915. South-western China. Named 
after its discoverer, Reginald Farrer. 
This is the plant which Farrer took to be I. graminea 
and described as growing in the alpine pastures of 
south-western China. Its flowers, doubtless, are very 
similar to those of I. graminea but it differs in having 
a rounded, and not a flattened stem. From I. Sin- 
tenisii it differs in its narrow flimsy foliage and by the 
fact that only the outer spathe is at all keeled and that 
only slightly. 

I.songarica. Schrenk, 1841. Persia to Thibet. Named 
after the district of Songaria in Central Asia, in 
which it was first found. 
This curious species has only occasionally been in 
cultivation and it is to be hoped that it will be rein- 
troduced before long. The slender flowers are of the 
shape of those of I. spuria but the colouring is very 
different. The centre of the blade of the falls is 
minutely dotted with purple on a bluish ground while 
the outer part is almost white and bears large purple 
dots or blotches. The standards are veined and 
blotched with red-purple on a whitish ground and the 


perianth tube is very long, always more than one inch 
in length and frequently more than two inches. 

This species may be recognized by the inch -long, 
narrow style crests, which cross one over the other 
and by the coarse fibres which run diagonally one over 
the other and enclose the slender rhizomes. These 
fibres are the remains of the leaves of former years. 

I. halophila. Pallas, 1773. Persia, Turkestan and 
Afghanistan. It was called " salt loving " because 
it is found in the salt marshes of Central Asia. 

No Iris is more common than this either under its 
own name or under that of I. Gtildenstadtiana in all 
botanic gardens. It is very hardy, seeds very readily 
and so springs up where more delicate species have 
died out. Then its seeds are solemnly collected and 
distributed to other botanic gardens and to private 
individuals under all kinds of attractive names. 
Specimens of this Iris probably formed the majority 
of the collection which the Danish botanist, Lange, 
tried to establish by obtaining seeds from various 
gardens and which led him to complain to Baker, at 
that time Keeper of the Kew Herbarium, that " the 
major portion of the Irises he had educated from seeds 
had received improper names." 

The ample foliage is rather longer than the stems, 
which are twelve to eighteen inches long, with one or 
two lateral heads of flowers, below the terminal spathe. 
The flowers are rather small and narrow, with a small 
rounded blade to the falls, which projects almost 
horizontally instead of being reflexed downwards as 


in I. spuria. The colour is either white more or less 
veined with purple, a dull yellow or a grey purple. 
Only in rare cases are the flowers good enough to make 
it a desirable garden plant but I once had a group of 
seedlings, which persisted in flowering regularly a 
second time each year in September and October. 

/. aurea. Lindley, 1847. Kashmir. So called on 
account of the golden colour of its flowers. 

This tall, stately species is a fine border plant and 
does well in rather strong, fertile loam. The stem is 
three feet or more high, bearing three or four clusters 
of flowers one below the other. The long, narrow 
spathes each contain two or three of the rich golden 
flowers, which have an oblong blade to the falls with 
a frilled edge. The firm, erect foliage is rather shorter 
than the stems and dies completely away in the winter. 

Although I. aurea is always described as a native of 
Kashmir and although the original plants were raised 
from seeds from that country, it is by no means certain 
that it is indigenous there. Possibly it may have been 
introduced from Asia Minor and in this connection it 
must be remembered that I. Kharput was described 
as coming from Kharput in Asia Minor but that it is 
also naturalized in the neighbourhood of Srinagar, in 

Possibly I. aurea is not even a species, for its rela- 
tionship to I. ochroleuca and to Monnieri has never 
been worked out yet. 

/. ochroleuca. Linnaeus, 1771. Western Asia Minor. 
So called by reason of its white and yellow flowers. 


In its finest forms this is one of the tallest and most 
stately of all Irises. The stems may be as much as 
four feet and more in height, with several tiers of large 
white and yellow flowers. The strong, somewhat 
twisted leaves are from one to two inches broad and 
about three feet long. The flowers are usually white 
except for the blade of the falls which has a large 
central patch of golden yellow. The exact amount of 
yellow varies in individual seedlings though it is un- 
certain to what extent this variation occurs among 
wild plants. 

/. Monnieri (de CandoUe, 1808) is very similar to 
I. ochroleuca except that the flowers are wholly 
of a soft yellow and very smooth in texture. It 
is probably merely a colour variation and not a 
distinct species, though it is very different in its 
effect as a garden plant. It does not come true 
from seed, if self-fertiHzed, but the majority of 
the seedlings are similar to I. ochroleuca. Foster 
crossed Monnieri and spuria and obtained free- 
flowering hybrids with flowers of a light blue- 
purple, to which he gave the name of Monspur. 

/. spuria. Linnaeus, 1753. It is not known why this 
Iris was called " the bastard." 
The distribution of the various forms of I. spuria in 
nature is an interesting puzzle of which the key has 
not yet been found, for the war made it impossible to 
carry on research work and to raise all the various local 
forms from seed as I had hoped to do. The facts, as 


far as they appear to be known, at present, are that 
there are at least three distinct forms : — 

I. Produces only a terminal head of two flowers 
and is a slender plant with narrow leaves. The stem 
is about a foot or fifteen inches long. This form occurs 
in Spain, near Madrid, and in France in marshes near 
Rochefort and near Agde at the mouth of the H^rault. 

II. Produces one or two lateral heads of flowers as 
well as the terminal two-flowered spathe. These 
lateral heads are set far apart on the stem so that the 
intemodes of the stem are plainly visible. This form 
occurs on the Danish island of Saltholm and, strangest 
of all, in one place in the fens near our own East Coast 
in Lincolnshire. It may also occur in Algiers. 

III. Has the lateral buds of II but the stem is 
dwarfer so that its intemodes are entirely hidden in 
the sheathing leaves. This is the form which is found 
in the marshes between Hyeres and the sea and also 
in Algeria. 

Of all these forms the flowers are practically identical 
being of a rich blue-purple on the blade of the falls and 
slightly redder in the standards. The stigma has 
always two prominent teeth and the pollen is orange 
scarlet. The style branches are reddish-purple and 
the crests small and triangular. 

A much larger and finer plant with paler flowers 
grows near Srinagar, in Kashmir, and has been de- 
scribed under the name of I. Carthaliniae by Fomin 
as a native of the Caucasus. In the present state of 
our knowledge it is impossible to say whether these 
various forms are natives of these regions. 


In all cases the foliage is sturdy, of a dark green and 
dies away in the late summer. The rhizomes are more 
slender than those of a Bearded Iris and much tougher 
and more fibrous. The roots too have a wiry core, at 
any rate when they are mature, such as is not found 
among the Bearded Irises. 

The Californian Subsection. 

The species comprised in this subsection are confined 
to California and a few adjacent states and, as we 
should therefore expect, are practically evergreen. At 
any rate, except in very severe winters, they retain 
the leaves of one season until those of the next are 
pushing up. The leaves are pecuUarly hard and tough 
in texture and have the further characteristic that, 
when they die they turn to a dull, brick-red and not 
to the brownish-yellow of most other Irises. More- 
over they are almost always coloured pink at the base. 

Another peculiarity of most of the species is the 
extraordinary amount of variation that there is in the 
colour of the flowers. In fact, it is almost true to say 
that no two individual plants of Douglasiana, tenax or 
macrosiphon have identical flowers. These Irises lend 
themselves admirably to cutting, and vases of the 
flowers, of which each one is different though all 
harmonize together, are so beautiful that it is a matter 
for surprise that they are not more widely grown. 

The reason for this is probably that the plants 
cannot be treated like other Irises. The rhizomes are 


very slender and the root fibres few in number. Con- 
sequently the plants soon perish if they are left long 
out of the ground. Moreover, for about half the year 
the plants seem content to live on their old roots and 
it is quite useless to attempt to move them when their 
roots are inactive. They make no attempt to take 
hold of the ground and soon succumb. On the other 
hand when growth is active in spring and summer, it 
is comparatively easy to transplant these Irises, pro- 
vided that the rhizomes and roots are not allowed to 
get dry or to lack moisture for a few weeks when they 
are replanted. 

The best method of increase is, however, by seeds, 
though transplantation is the only method of mul- 
tiplying any particular variety. Seedhngs planted out 
with four or six leaves in early summer should flower 
the next year or at latest the following year. The 
soil should be fairly light and rich in humus and it 
seems impossible to grow these species in ground that 
is heavily charged with Hme. The plants should be 
top-dressed at intervals with light, rich soil, which 
should be worked well in among the growths. Even 
with this treatment the soil will probably show signs 
of exhaustion after some years and the plants must 
either be transplanted or else dug up and a fresh start 
made with seedlings. 

It seems not improbable that there are a number of 
local forms of these Irises, which are very imperfectly 
known. For instance it is uncertain whether I. Hart- 
wegii should rank as a species or whether it should^ be 
looked upon as a dwarf, yellow-flowered form of 


I. tenax. There is also in Tulare Co., California, at a 
height of about 2,000 feet on the foothills of the Sierra 
Nevada a plant with rather scanty foUage of a grey, 
glaucous green which agrees with I. tenax in having 
the widely separated spathes, so characteristic of that 
species. This plant, is, I believe, sometimes known 
as Hartwegii australis and has large flowers of the 
same shape as those of tenax and of varying shades 
of purple, usually with darker veins upon a paler 
The other species may be distinguished as follows : — 

Stems usually branching. 
Stems not branched. 

2. ( 

Perianth- tube linear for some distance I. Douglasiana 
above the ovary. (p. 116). 

Perianth- tube funnel-shaped immedi- I. tenuis 
ately above the ovary. (p. 117). 

Perianth-tube funnel-shaped immedi- 
ately above the ovary. 3. 

Perianth-tube linear above the ovary. 4. 

Spathes broad, overlapping ; foliage I. bracteata 
very scanty. (p. 117). 

Spathes very narrow, widely separated 

and set some distance apart on the I. tenax 
stem. (p. 118). 

Stems concealed in broad, overlapping 

bracts. I. Purdyi 

(p. 119). 

Stems bearing narrow, reduced leaves 

and exposed between them. 5. 


Stem about equal to or not much longer I. macrosiphon 
than the perianth-tube. (p. 120). 

Stem many times as long as the tube. I. tenuissima 

(p. 121). 

/. Douglasiana. Herbert, 1841. Found near the coast 
of California from Humboldt Co. to Monterey. 
Named after Douglas who explored the botany of 
California early in the nineteenth century. 

This beautiful and extremely variable species is dis- 
tinguished by its strong and usually dark green foliage, 
which turns a dull dark red as it dies, by the short 
linear tube above the long, triangular ovary which 
tapers gradually at either end and by its smooth, 
spherical seeds. It forms dense masses of foliage from 
which issue numerous branching stems, bearing several 
heads of two or three flowers each. Some forms are of 
weaker growth and are less floriferous and some have 
lighter green foliage. Some of these forms have received 
specific names, such as Watsoniana and amabilis but, 
unless we are to give specific names to every small local 
variation, it seems unwise to give them in these cases. 

The perianth tube above the acutely angled ovary 
is nearly an inch in length and is of a pale yellowish 
green, when the flowers are pale, and of a purple shade, 
when the flowers are deeply coloured. 

The colour of the flowers varies from the deepest 
violet-purple, through purple and mauve to lavender 
and the palest flesh colour and even white. In the 
centre of the falls there is usually a more lightly coloured 
patch netted with darker veins. The standards are 
sHghtly shorter than the falls and of the same colour. 


I. Douglasiana will probably hybridise with other 
Califomian Irises and I have also succeeded in crossing 
it with the Chinese I. chrysographes and with the 
Himalayan I. Clarkei. In the former case the variety 
of I. Douglasiana was pale in colour and the hybrid 
was of a beautiful crushed strawberry colour with a 
large patch of gold veining in the centre of the falls. 
Both these hybrids are entirely sterile (see p. 91). 

I. tenuis. Watson, 1882. This slender Iris is only found 
in fir forests near the Clackamas River in north- 
western Oregon. 
The creeping rhizomes spread widely in loose, 
decaying vegetable debris and send up branching 
stems about a foot in height. The flowers are white 
with a few purple veins and a patch of yellow in the 
centre of the falls. I. tenuis can be readily distin- 
guished from other CaUfornian Irises by its branching 
stem and by the way in which the tufts of leaves 
appear at a distance from each other. I. Douglasiana 
is the only other species with a branching stem and 
that is separated at once by its habit of forming dense 
masses of leaves and by its long, slender perianth tube. 
I. tenuis has never been successfully cultivated for 
long in this country but there is no reason why it 
should not be established if seeds could be obtained. 
Imported rhizomes would almost certainly fail. 

/, hracteata. Watson, 1885. This species is apparently 
found only in Oregon and owes its name to the 
bractUke leaves which clothe the stem. 


It is a plant which makes very scanty growth and 
remarkabl}^ few leaves. These are thick and leathery 
with a polished, deep green upper surface, nearly half- 
an-inch broad and eighteen inches or more long when 
fully grown. They are produced singly and not in 
fan-shaped tufts. 

The stem is only six or eight inches long and bears 
a single head of two flowers. These are yellow, more 
or less conspicuously veined with brownish purple. 
The short, broad, funnel-shaped tube separates it at 
once from I. Purdyi with which it is sometimes confused. 

I. bracteata is a difficult plant to move successfully. 
It should always be raised from seeds and the seedhngs 
put out into their permanent positions in their first 
year. If for any reason it is impossible to do this, 
then each seedling should be potted separately so that 
they can be planted later on without disturbing the 

Some years ago a number of rose-red specimens 
appeared among a batch of seedHngs but I am inclined 
to think that this colour was due to hybridisation with 
Douglasiana or with tenax. There is no evidence that 
in the wild state any colour but yellow is found. 

/. tenax. Douglas, 1829. Found in the states of 

Washington and Oregon and namely apparently 

with reference to the strength of the fibres of the 

leaves, which the Indians used to twist into cord. 

This is a remarkably graceful and pleasing Iris. It 

forms dense clumps of narrow foliage from which rise 

a great number of slender stems about twelve or fifteen 


To face p. ii8 

I. tenax. 

(Two thuds natural size). 


inches long, each bearing two flowers in succession. 
A characteristic feature is the way in which the narrow 
spathe- valves, instead of springing from the same point 
on the stem as in the other Irises, are set an inch or 
more apart from one another on the stem. The 
perianth tube is broad and funnel-shaped, less than 
half-an-inch long. 

The flowers have a rounded blade to the fall, with a 
pale central patch, usually slightly stained with yellow, 
and crossed by deeply coloured veins. The colour of 
the flower varies from a deep, rich red-purple through 
mauve and lavender to the palest pearl-grey (see 
fig. 17, p. 118). 

I succeeded in crossing I. tenax with the Chinese 
I. Wilsonii but the sterile hybrid was frankly ugly. 
The flowers were closely speckled with dark blue- 
purple on a yellow ground. 

7. Purdyi. Eastwood, 1897. Found only in the Red- 
wood districts of Sonoma and Mendocino counties 
in California and named after Carl Purdy of Ukiah, 
a well-known collector and grower of Californian 
This species was originally confused with I. Doug- 
lasiana, and it is possible to obtain pale yellow flowered 
forms of the latter of which the flowers are undoubtedly 
very similar to those of I. Purdyi. The plants, how- 
ever, are very different. I. Purdyi has scanty foliage 
instead of the dense masses of I. Douglasiana and the 
leaves have a polished upper surface. Another curious 
feature is that the central leaves of each tuft are 


darker in colour than those at the outside. The short, 
unbranched stem is entirely hidden in short, bractlike 
leaves and bears two large, flat flowers in succession. 
The colour is a pale creamy yeUow veined with red- 
purple on the falls and the flowers are very similar to 
those of I. bracteata. I. Purdyi can be distinguished 
at once, however, by the long yellowish-green tube 
more than an inch in length and by its broad, straight 
stigma lip, which is tongue-shaped in I. bracteata. 
The seeds, too, are cubical and not spherical as those 
of I. Douglasiana. 

/. macrosiphon. Torrey, 1857. This " long-tubed " 
species is found scattered over a considerable area 
of Oregon and California. It grows abundantly 
on Mount Tamalpais across the bay from San 
I. macrosiphon is distinguished at once from all 
other Californian Irises by its long perianth tube, 
which is often as much as three inches long. The 
narrow, slender foliage is only about a foot in length 
and is either a bright green or distinctly glaucous. The 
stem is only two or three inches long and bears one or 
two narrow, reduced leaves. The colour of the flowers 
is very variable, being of all shades of blue- and red- 
purple and even white. In some districts the plants 
all produce flowers of the same colour, while in others 
each individual plant has flowers of a different shade. 
This fact is not surprising when we remember that the 
European species pumila and chamaeiris behave in 
precisely the same way. In all cases the flowers are 


veined with delicate darker veins on a paler ground. 
The standards are somewhat shorter than the falls and 
usually of the same pale shade as the ground colour 
of the falls. 

/. tenuissima. Dykes, 1912. A very " slender " 
species, known to occur only in Shasta Co., Cali- 
This species is a very weak and slender grower and 
in this country, at any rate, was cut by late frosts. 
The stem is nearly a foot in length and the perianth 
tube one inch. The stem is not, however, closely 
sheathed in bractlike leaves as is that of L Purdyi, 
with which the plant might be confused. Moreover, 
the flowers are much smaller with very narrow seg- 
ments. The white falls are veined with yellowish- 
brown and have a waved edge. The standards are 
pointed, white with a few faint yellow veins running 
up the centre. 

This description is taken from some plants which 
I raised from seeds collected by Miss Alice Eastwood 
in the same locality, from which the original herbarium 
specimens came. The longer stem, relatively shorter 
tube and the broad, rounded spathes seemed to separate 
L tenuissima from L macrosiphon. Its delicate con- 
stitution will probably prevent it from becoming 
common in this country. 


The Longipetala Subsection. 

There are at least four species in this subsection and 
they are all good garden plants that thrive in ordinary 
border soil. Unfortunately there has been, and there 
stiU is, very considerable confusion as to their names. 

The only species, which is usually correctly named, 
is the true I. longipetala from the coast of California. 
It is a sturdy, vigorous plant with large flowers veined 
with violet on a white ground. It should be noted 
that its standards do not taper to a point at the upper 
end but are blunt and often indented in the centre of 
the broad end. 

Very similar to the true I. longipetala is the upland 
form of the same species. It is built on much more 
slender lines but otherwise only differs in that the 
stems are distinctly longer than the leaves and the 
flowers smaller, though veined in the same way. A 
specimen preserved in the herbarium of the British 
Museum leaves no doubt that this is the plant which 
Nuttall called missouriensis and another specimen in 
the same museum shows that it is also the plant called 
I. Tolmeiana by Herbert. In gardens it is the Iris 
usually known as longipetala montana but which 
should rightly be called missouriensis. 

Further confusion has been caused by the fact that 
both Nuttall's name of missouriensis and Herbert's 
name of Tolmeiana have been apphed to a third species 
to which Nuttall gave a provisional name of montana, 
though he never actually published any description. 


His specimen, however, is preserved in the British 
Museum and is quite distinct. This species has short, 
narrow erect leaves about equal to the stem and bears 
flowers of lilac or lavender, almost uniform in colour, 
except for the central area of the blade of the falls 
which is pale yellow. 

The fourth species is arizonica, which I first raised 
from seeds obtained from Arizona. The growth is 
much more like that of longipetala than that of 
montana, except that the leaves are of a yellow-green 
instead of being distinctly glaucous. The flowers, 
however, are more like those of montana. 

The four species may therefore be separated as 
follows : — 

(Flowers veined with violet on white 

ground ; standards blunt. i. 
Flowers lilac or lavender ; standards 

pointed. 2. 

, / Plants robust ; leaves equal in length I. longipetala 

to the stem. (p. 123). 

Plants slender ; stems longer than the I. missouriensis 

^ leaves. (p. 124). 

Plants robust ; 24 to 30 inches ; yellow- 
green leaves as long as branching I. arizonica 
stem. (p. 125). 

Plants slender ; 12 to 18 inches ; glau- I. montana 

^ cous leaves equal to unbranched stem. (p. 125). 

/. longipetala. Herbert, 1841. The coast of California, 
from San Francisco southwards to Monterey. 
This is a very robust species and one that is easy to 


grow in any good garden soil. As might be expected 
from a consideration of the chmate of its native home, 
I. longipetala is practically evergreen, fresh leaves 
appearing in early autumn before the old leaves have 
died away. The colour is a dark green with glaucous 
grey tinge. 

The leaves are two feet or more in length by an inch 
in width and are about equal to the stems, which bear 
several leaves and one or two lateral clusters of flowers 
besides the terminal head. Each spathe produces 
from three to six flowers in succession on long pedicels. 

The large flowers are veined with violet on a white 
ground. The central ridge is thickly dotted with 
violet on a white ground and this dotted area spreads 
a little over the centre of the blade. The standards 
are very pecuhar, being distinctly oblong and blunt 
at the upper end, with a shallow nick in the centre. 

The seed capsule is thin-waUed with six ribs and tapers 
gradually at either end. The seeds are smooth, dark 
brown and almost spherical. These characters seem to 
indicate an affinity to the Asiatic I. ensata {see p. 140). 

7. missouriensis. Nuttall, 1834. The Rocky Mountains 

near the sources of the Missouri and all over the 

Great Basin to the west and south. 

This is the upland or mountain form of I. longipetala 

and differs only in its more slender growth and in the 

fact that the stems are distinctly longer than the 

leaves. As we might expect of a mountain plant, it 

loses its leaves in the autumn and remains dormant 

until the spring. 


I. montana. Nuttall. This is the name written on his 

specimen preserved in the Natural History branch 

of the British Museum. The species comes from 

the Rocky Mountains and from the country to the 

west and is the plant that is often grown in gardens 

under the names of Tolmeiana and missouriensis, to 

neither of which it has apparently any claim. It is 

also probably the I. pelogonus of Goodding, 1902. 

This plant, like missouriensis, is leafless in winter 

and then in the spring sends up narrow, rather stiff 

glaucous leaves to the height of about fifteen or eighteen 

inches. The stem is about the same length and bears 

only a terminal head of two or rarely three flowers, 

each raised on pedicels about an inch or little more in 

length, whereas those of longipetala and missouriensis 

are much longer. The standards taper to a point above 

and are lance-shaped not oblong. The capsule is 

similar to that of longipetala but more slender and 

the seeds are of the same type. 

The colour of the flowers is lilac or lavender. The 
standards are uniform in colour, while on the blade of 
the falls there are some slightly darker, diffuse or 
spreading veins on a lilac ground, beyond a central 
yellow patch. 

This Iris, under the name of Tolmeiana, was crossed 
by Foster with longipetala and produced the well- 
known garden hybrid ToUong, which has the flowers 
of montana and the habit and vigour of longipetala. 

/. arizonica. Dykes, 1917. The original plants on 
which the description is based were raised from 


seeds taken from herbarium specimens collected 
in 1906 in the Barfoot Park at an altitude of 
8,000 feet, on the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona. 

At first sight this Iris looks not unlike I. longipetala. 
It has the same tall, sturdy growth but the leaves are 
a yellower green and not so glaucous. Moreover, they 
die away in the late autumn and the plants then 
remain dormant until the spring. The leaves and the 
stems are about 24 to 30 inches long and the stems 
usually produce a lateral cluster of two or three flowers 
about six inches below the terminal spathe, which 
contains from three to five flowers. The flowers are 
much more like those of montana than those of longi- 
petala. The lilac or lavender colour spreads all over 
the falls except for the yellow blotch at the centre and 
the slightly shorter standards are lanceolate without 
the notch of longipetala. The flowers are supported 
on slender pedicels over two inches long. 

I. arizonica is thus practically a plant like longipetala 
with flowers Hke montana, but it differs from longi- 
petala in that its leaves remain green until late in the 
autumn long after those of longipetala and then die 
away entirely instead of making new growth at once. 
It is not so decorative a plant as longipetala for the 
flowers are too small and narrow for the vigorous foUage. 

I. arizonica in its general appearance and in its habit 
of growth is very like the Asiatic I. ensata. Both are 
natives of dry regions and have very long roots with 
the result that their foliage remains green in the driest 
of summers, long after other plants have sufltered from 
the drought. 


The Hexagona Subsection. 

This small group of three species from the south- 
eastern United States seems to contain the nearest 
relatives of the European and Asiatic species of the 
Spuria subsection. The seed-vessels have double ridges 
at each angle but these ridges are less pronounced and 
set further apart than in I. spuria and its closely re- 
lated species. The seeds, too, are different, for they are 
enclosed in a thick, corky husk that makes them appear 
larger than those of any other Irises. This corky husk 
has the same effect as the parchment-like envelope of 
the spurias, for it enables the seeds to float in water 
and to distribute themselves in this way over the 
marshes in which these Irises are found. 

Though all three are marsh plants in their native 
homes, that does not mean that they will thrive in a 
bog garden in this country where they do not get the 
ripening in summer to which they are accustomed. 
The ordinary borders in our gardens usually contain 
enough moisture for them, except on hot, sandy soils, 
but I. hexagona itself wants a warm sheltered comer 
if it is to do well. I. fulva and I. foliosa will thrive in 
rather rich soil but they must not be allowed to become 
too parched at any time. They are best transplanted 
in August or early in September, when it will be found 
that root growth is active. 

The three species may be separated as follows : — 

' All segments drooping ; flowers terra- I. fulva 
cotta. (p. 128). 

Inner segments spreading upwards, not 
drooping. i. 


I. ( Plant tall, stem rising above the leaves. I. hexagona 

(p. 129). 
Plant dwarf, flowers low down among I. foliosa 
the leaves. (p. 129). 

/. fulva. Ker-Gawler, 1812. The banks of the Missis- 
sippi near New Orleans. So-called from the 
bright terra-cotta flowers. 

I. fulva is one of the most distinct of all Irises. Its 
six segments all droop outwards at about the same 
angle, the flowers being produced from the axils of 
leaves of some length set at intervals on a stem rather 
more than two feet high. 

The new growth begins early in the autumn and 
persists through the winter, so that the plants are only 
leafless for a short time about August. The leaves 
have the black dots, when held up to the light, which 
are characteristic of water Irises {see p. 10). 

The slender rhizome is greenish-brown and shows 
very distinctly the ring-shaped scars, from which 
former leaves have been detached. 

The colour of the flowers is unique among Irises and 
is the same both on falls and standards. The latter 
are blunt and not tapering and the style branches are 
very short with small crests. 

At first sight the affinity of I. fulva to I. foliosa is 
not apparent but the two species agree in their seeds 
and capsules and also in the arrangement of the lateral 
buds in the axils of the leaves. An attempt at cross- 
ing the two produced two forms of the hybrid Fulvala, 
both with rich velvety falls, one a red-purple and the 
other of a bluer shade. The name was composed of 


fulva and the first syllable of Lamancei, for L foliosa 
was known at that time as L hexagona var. Lamancei. 
The hybrids are excellent garden plants and flower 
more freely than either of the parents. 

/. hexagona. Walter, 1788, The south-eastern United 
States, Carolina, Louisiana and Florida. So-called 
apparently by reason of the six-ribbed ovary. 

This fine species bearing large lavender flowers on 
a three-foot stem is unfortunately not really hardy in 
this country. It needs a sheltered comer in rich soil, 
if it is to do well. The large falls are over four inches 
long with a blade two inches in width and the pointed 
standards are nearly as long but only half the width. 
The colour of the blade is the same as that of the falls 
but the haft is green. Albino forms with pure white 
flowers are not unknown. 

The stem bears several heads of flowers each of 
which, except the topmost, springs from the axil of a 
reduced leaf. 

The foliage is nearly two feet long and the plant owes 
its delicacy to the fact that new leaves grow in the 
autumn and consequently suffer in winter. 

/. foliosa. Mackenzie and Bush, 1902. The south- 
eastern United States from Missouri and Arkansas 
to Texas. The name " leafy " expresses the 
habit of the plant which almost hides its large 
flowers among its abundant foliage. 
This species is practically a dwarf counterpart of 

I. hexagona. The flowers are verj^ similar but not 


quite so massive. The stem, however, is only about 
a foot in length and zigzags slightly at each leaf, which 
contains a bud in its axil. The blade of the fall is a 
fine blue-lavender with a central patch of greenish 
white. An albino form is also known and, as in the 
case of I. hexagona, the central ridge is distinctly 

For cultivation, see the Introduction to the sub- 

Miscellaneous Beardless Irises. 

When we have eliminated from the Apogon section 
the four great groups of the Sibiricas, the Spurias, the 
Longipetalas and the Californians, there remain a 
certain number of good garden plants and a few species, 
which have never been successfully introduced into 
cultivation and which are probably difficult, if not 
impossible, to establish here. 

Of Garden Irises the most obvious are I. Kaempferi, 
the parent of the Japanese Irises, I. laevigata, with 
which it has long been confused, I. pseudacorus, our 
yellow river Iris and its American counterpart, I. ver- 
sicolor. There remain also our other native species, 
I. foetidissima, which was thought always to have 
scarlet seeds but of which a variety with white seeds 
has recently appeared ; I. ensata, one of the most 
widely distributed species in Central Asia and a relative 
apparently of the Longipetala group ; I. setosa, prob- 
ably the only species which is native both of Asia and 
America ; I. unguicularis, the Algerian Iris so valuable 



for providing us with flowers in the open in mid- winter ; 
I. ruthenica, a pretty little species from Hungary, the 
Altai region and south-western China and I. vema, 
the American species, which looks like a pumila but 
has no beard. 

These will all be described in detail but mention must 
be made here of the other species, which are intro- 
duced into our gardens from time to time though they 
never seem to repay the trouble that we take over them. 

I. Grant Duffii, Baker (1892), is a curious Iris which 
was first described from plants found by General Grant 
Duff on the plains of Esdraelon, in Palestine. It has 
long, narrow, rather stiff leaves and a most venemous 
rhizome, thickly set with the spiny remains of the 
leaves of former seasons. The rhizomes cannot be 
handled without leaving in the hands a number of 
these spines which are exceedingly painful. The 
flowers, which are extremely rare in this country, are 
yellow with a few small spots or dots of dark purple. 
I. Aschersonii, Foster (1902), is an Asia Minor relative 
of this Iris with rather greenish-yeUow flowers edged 
with black spots and the very similar I. melanosticta, 
Bommuller (1907), comes from the Hauran beyond the 
Jordan. I. masia, Foster (1902), is a purple flowered 
variety, probably of I. Aschersonii, found by Sintenis 
in 1888 near Suverek in Asia Minor. 

Three small Chinese species, I. Grijsi, Maximowicz 
(1880), from the Central Provinces, I. Rossii, Baker 
{1877), from Corea and north-eastern China, and 
I. Henryi, Baker (1892), from the middle Yangtse near 
Ichang, have never apparently been in cultivation. 


I. Grijsi is remarkable for its habit of producing twin 
stems side by side, I. Rossii looks like a very free- 
flowering little I. ruthenica with a long perianth tube, 
while I. Henryi might well be a relative of, or even 
identical with, I. minuta, Franchet et Savatier (1879). 
This curious little yellow-flowering species, which is 
apparently only known as a cultivated plant from 
Japan, sometimes does well in light, rich soil in rock 
gardens in this country and flowers in April or May. 
The blade of the fall is rounded and marked with 
brown on a yellow ground and the short standards are 
also pale yellow. When the flowers appear on very 
short stems, the leaves are only a few inches long but 
grow eventually to about a foot in length. Nodules, 
like those on the roots of leguminous plants, appear on 
the roots of this species in autumn but their use is 

Three Asiatic species, I. tenuifolia, Pallas (1773), 
I. Bungei, Maximowicz (1880), and I. ventricosa, 
Pallas (1773), have occasionally been introduced into 
cultivation but, though the plants have lingered on 
for some years, I have never known them flower. 
Of tenuifolia I raised seedlings from imported seeds but 
they were slower growing than any other Iris I have 
ever seen and showed no sign of flowering even after 
several years. This was the more disappointing be- 
cause the plants seemed quite healthy. I. tenuifolia 
extends from the Volga through Turkestan into 
Mongolia and must be not unlike I. unguicularis. 
I. Bungei, from Mongolia, has a short stem and is 
intermediate between I. tenuifolia and I. ventricosa, 


which has broad spathes, covered with a curious 
network of fibres. 

The most important of these miscellaneous beardless 
Irises may be recognized as follows : — 

/. Kaempferi and I. laevigata. 

The persistent refusal of both gardeners and botanists 
to recognize the difference between these two species 
is most remarkable. I. Kaempferi is the Iris which, 
in the hands of Japanese cultivators, has given rise 
to an enormous number of garden varieties, in many 
of which the styles have been more or less converted 
into petals and the flowers have consequently become 
double. The standards also have in many cases ceased 
to be erect and have become almost as wide as the faUs. 

A similar fate has overtaken I. laevigata but in a 
lesser degree. There is in Japan a form with six or 
more petals, all looking like falls, of white spotted with 
blue as well as the single form of this colour which was 
described as a species under the name of I. albopur- 

One curious fact is that both species grow in the 
Amur district of Manchuria but they can be separated 
at once by the fact that the lec.v s of I. Kaempferi have 
a raised midrib, while thosi: of i. laevigata are smooth. 
It is possible that the name laevigata, was given because 
of this character of the leaves or it may refer to the 
smooth, shiny, fawn-coloured se- ds. Another difference 
is that the standards of laevig.i.t;. are as long as the 
falls while those of Kaempferi .ir. very much shorter. 

134 THE IRIS , 

The seeds of the two species are very different, those 
of I. laevigata being thick, flat, and semi-circular with 
shiny light brown skins, and those of I. Kaempferi 
thin, almost circular discs. The capsules of I. laevigata 
are oblong, about three times as long as they are wide 
and the pedicels which support them are short, less 
than an inch in length. On the other hand the capsules 
of I. Kaempferi are short and broad, almost globular 
in fact, and the pedicels may be several times as long 
as the capsules themselves. 

There is another great difference which it is well to 
remember if the plants are to be cultivated success- 
fully. I. laevigata is a true bog plant and will flourish 
where it is wet all through the year. I. Kaempferi, on 
the other hand, is not really a bog plant and should 
be kept comparatively dry, except when growth v, 
active. Moreover, the colour of the wild plants is 
quite different ; laevigata is a fine blue-purple, while 
Kaempferi is a deep rich red. 

The two plants may therefore be separated as 
follows : — 

/. Kaempferi ; leaves with distinct midrib ; standards 
much shorter than the falls ; capsules short and 
broad on long pedicels ; seeds thin, round, 

/. laevigata ; leaves without raised midrib ; standards 
nearly as long as falls ; capsules oblong on short 
pedicels ; seeds thick, semicircular, 

/. Kaempferi. Siebold, 1858. Manchuria, Corea and 
Japan. Named after Kaempfer, the German 
physician and traveller, who lived in Japan from 
1690 to 1692. 


The wild plant has leaves up to two or two-and-a- 
half feet in length and the stem is nearly as long. The 
leaves may be nearly an inch in width and have a 
prominent raised midrib through their whole length. 
There is usually a side branch with two flowers as weU 
as the terminal head. 

The falls have a short narrow haft and a large oval 
blade of deep red-purple with a small yellow streak, 
not projecting far beyond the style branches. The 
standards are not much more than half the length of 
the falls and of the same colour. 

The process by which the Japanese have evolved 
from this wild plant the innumerable single and double 
varieties of all shades of blue and red-purple, pink, 
lavender and white is quite unknown. It is one of 
those plants, like the chrysanthemum and the flowering 
cherries, on which the Japanese gardeners have for 
centuries concentrated their skill and exercised their 
patience with results that are truly astonishing. 

No attempt will be made here to give lists of named 
varieties because no two catalogues seem to agree. 
The list recently published by the American Iris 
Society gives about 800 names but, as no description 
of the flowers is attempted, it is of course, impossible 
to say whether that number of distinct varieties exists. 
Where seedlings are raised in large numbers it will be 
found that many of them are single plants, practically 
identical with the wild type, and an albino single form 
with just a touch of yellow on the blade of the falls is 
also very common. 

With regard to cultivation, the secret is to manure 


the plants heavily with farmyard or liquid manure 
during the resting period in winter and to keep them 
at the same time comparatively dry, by planting them 
in raised beds and drawing the water away from the 
channels between them. Then when growth begins 
in spring, manuring should stop and the channels be 
filled with water. When the plants become too thick 
and crowded, they should be lifted, carefully divided 
and replanted at once, and the best time for this 
operation is immediately the flowers are over. Planting 
may also be carried out in spring, when growth is just 
beginning. The soil should be rich and heavy rather 
than sandy but must not contain lime. 

/. laevigata. Fischer, 1837. Eastern Siberia, Man- 
churia, Corea and possibly Japan. The name 
" smoothed " may refer to leaves, which have no 
midrib, or to the seeds. 

This is, to my mind, the finest blue Iris that we 
possess and one that deserves to be far more widely 
known and cultivated. It has long suffered from 
confusion with I. Kaempferi but no one who has once 
grown the two side by side can ever confuse them 

The stem is about eighteen inches long, not so 
straight as in I. Kaempferi but inchned to zigzag and 
bears a side-head of flowers when growing vigorously. 
The large green spathes usually contain three flowers 
and have the inner valve much longer than the outer. 
The large oval blade of the fall is a deep blue with 
small central yellow streak. The standards are nearly 


as long and of the same colour. The capsule and 
seeds have already been described. 

Nothing could be finer than the wild plant and a 
good contrast to it is the white variety. Another in 
which the white flowers are more or less heavily spotted 
and blotched with blue has been evolved in Japan 
and seems to breed true. The Japanese have also 
succeeded in doubling all these varieties, so that they 
have monstrous flowers with six or eight petals, all 
looking like falls but such freaks are more admired 
by the Japanese with their love of the grotesque than 
by gardeners in this country. 

/. pseudacorus and I. versicolor. 

If similarity of seeds is an indication of affinity, then 
the nearest relatives of I. laevigata are our native 
I. pseudacorus and its American cousin, I. versicolor. 
These two species appear to be very closely related, 
for, if we disregard colour, the only difference is in 
the shape and size of the standards, which in pseuda- 
corus are very variable. Even here, however, the two 
plants agree in that their standards always have at 
their base two lateral wings. 

/. pseudacorus. Linnaeus, 1753. So called to distin- 
guish it from the sedge, Acorus Calamus. It is 
found in marshes and along streams all over 
Europe, in North Africa, Asia Minor and Syria 
and also in Siberia. 
This well-known water Iris is probably of very 

ancient origin. Many attempts have been made to 


cross it but the seedlings have almost invariably been 
merely pseudacorus. One plant, however, is known 
to exist, which can only be a hybrid between pseuda- 
corus and versicolor. It has flowers closely speckled 
with blue-purple on a yellow ground and its hybrid 
origin is doubtless the cause of its sterility. I. pseuda- 
corus is also found in a fossil state and I have seen 
specimens which were found at a considerable depth 
in the excavations for Immingham Docks. 

The tall branching stem is about three feet high and 
so also are the leaves, which have a conspicuous, raised 
midrib. The yellow flowers have large, almost circular 
blades to the falls and there is often a central patch of 
brown-purple veining. I have raised seedlings without 
any veining from wild specimens which were heavily 
marked and the pale yellow variety, sometimes known 
as Bastardi, also appears occasionally among seedlings. 

A peculiarity of the species is the amount of varia- 
tion in the shape and size of the standards. They are 
usually about an inch in length with a small concave 
blade but they are sometimes reduced to minute points. 

The large oblong capsules are not unlike those of 
I. laevigata and the smooth, light brown seeds float 
in water and thus aid the distribution of the plant 
along the banks of streams. 

The large, stout rhizome is very tough and fibrous 
and of a pink colour inside. It will thrive in marshy 
ground where few other Irises can exist. 

/. versicolor. Linnaeus, 1753. The exact meaning of 
the name is not obvious. It is hardl}^ likely that 


it was given merely because colour varieties were 
known, for each of these was named as a distinct 
species, e.g. virginica. Probably the Iris was 
called parti-coloured because the colouring varies 
in different parts of the flower. I. versicolor is 
found in swamps and by streams all through 
eastern Canada and the eastern United States 
from Hudson Bay to Texas. 
I. versicolor is practically a purple counterpart of 
I. pseudacorus, except that the standards are lance- 
shaped and a little more than half as long as the falls, 
and that the leaves, though thickened along the middle, 
have no distinctly raised midrib. The haft of the falls 
is veined with purple on a yellow ground, which fades 
to white on the blade. Beyond this white area the 
purple veins run together and the whole circumference 
of the blade is purple. The exact shade of purple may 
be either a dull slate, a blue or a rich red. The latter 
is sometimes known as the variety kermesina and 
breeds true to the colour when two red-purple examples 
are crossed. A number of variations in size and colour 
occur in the wild state and one of the most distinct is 
a dwarf plant with good blue flowers which came from 

Cultivation is as easy as that of I. pseudacorus and 
both these bog plants may be grown in the ordinary 
border, provided they are heavily mulched in summer 
and not allowed to get too dry. 

/. ensata. Thunberg, 1794. It is uncertain to what 
character this Iris owes its name of " sword-like." 


It may be to the stiff, erect young leaves, when 

growth first begins in spring or to the lance-hke 

blades of the falls. 

The species is very widely distributed, from the Altai 

region and Chinese Turkestan through Kashmir and 

Tibet to Manchuria, north-eastern China and Corea. 

There are undoubtedly two or three distinct varieties 

but, owing to the fact that the species is of some 

economic value both as a fodder plant and as a source 

of fibres that can be twisted into twine, the present 

distribution of the various varieties is very likely due 

to man rather than to nature. 

The most characteristic feature, by which all the 
varieties may be at once recognized, is the long, narrow 
ovary with six longitudinal ridges placed at equal 
intervals round it. The fullgrown foliage of all varie- 
ties is very long and narrow and, as the plants root 
more deeply than any other Iris except arizonica, they 
are able to withstand more drought and to remain 
green, when every other perennial is dried up and 
parched. It is not until the frosts of October and 
November that the leaves turn yellow and die even 
in the driest season. As soon as the weather becomes 
at all mild in the early spring, the leaves begin to grow 
rapidly and are usually pale yellow and only turn 
green later. At this stage they are frequently cut by 
late frosts. In Asia the flowers probably appear very 
early, almost as soon in fact as the snow melts and 
the young leaves push up. In this country they 
usually do not appear until the plants are further 
developed. The stems may be very variable in length, 


sometimes only an inch or two but usually more nearly 
a foot ; they are not round but somewhat flattened. 
The narrow, green spathes contain several buds and 
the flowers are produced in succession on pedicels of 
varying length up to as much as three or four inches. 
The capsules are long and narrow and the seeds smooth, 
dark brown and either spherical or slightly pear- 
shaped, closely resembling those of the longipetala 
group {see p. 124). 

There are three main varieties of I. ensata : — 

I. This, the commonest, has narrow, pointed fall- 
blades and very long leaves. The colour of the flowers 
is usually some shade of light or dark, rather slaty blue, 
but sometimes white. This form is found in Japan, 
Shantung and in the Kashmir valley near Srinagar. 

IL A second variety, grandiflora, has much larger 
flowers, produced when the leaves are still short and 
veined at the centre of the blade of the fall with pale 
violet on a creamy ground. This is the form that is 
found in Tibet and in the mountains of Western China. 

III. The third variety has twisted leaves and 
flowers not unlike those of the first but with more 
veining on the blade of the fall. This variety grows 
near Pekin. 

Except in the case of II, the flowers are disap- 
pointingly small and narrow for the size of the plant 
and the vigour of the leaves. There is no difficulty 
in the cultivation of I. ensata except that II is apt to 
have its buds frost-bitten before they open. All the 
forms seem able to grow in any soil that is not water- 
logged and an\^ one who has tried to dig up an old and 


long-established clump will admit that this Iris takes 
a most tenacious hold of the soil. 

/. foetidissima. Linnaeus, 1753. So called from the 
smell of the bruised leaves, which closely resembles 
that of the foliage of Clerodendron foetidum. It 
is a native of this country and of the Mediter- 
ranean basin. 
This is one of the few Irises, which flourish in the 
shade and is often found growing in woods and copses. 
It has broad, polished evergreen leaves but all attempts 
to convey this character to hybrids by cross fertiliza- 
tion have so far been in vain, for I. foetidissima refuses 
to allow itself to be crossed with any other species. 
The flowers of the typical plant are very inconspicuous, 
for they are of a dull purplish grey, so that they often 
come out and fade unnoticed and it is not until the 
seed pods burst open in the late autumn and display 
their scarlet seeds that it is realized that the plants 
have flowered at all. It used to be thought that the 
seeds were always scarlet but a year or two ago I 
received some white seeds. I have raised plants from 
them but they have yet to flower. A curious feature 
is the way in which the seeds remain attached to the 
three valves of the pod. In all other species the seeds 
are loose when the pod opens. 

Besides the typical form, there are at least two 
varieties with yellow flowers, which are more desirable 
as garden plants. Both are capable of breeding true 
when self-fertilized and it would probably be worth 
while to cross the three forms and to raise seedlings 


with a view to obtaining a good flower as well as the 
evergreen foliage and the scarlet berries, which are 
valuable in winter. 

Of the yeUow-flowered forms, the smaller is of a 
light lemon and the other with slightly larger flowers 
has a good deal of light-brown veining on the pale 
yeUow ground. 

The branching stem is about 18 or 20 inches long 
and bears two or three heads, each consisting of two 
or three flowers, which open in succession. 

I. foetidissima grows and increases slowly for an 
Iris, especially in the shade and must not be expected 
to flower as freely there as it does when grown in full 
sun. There is a form of this Iris with variegated foliage 
in which there is a pale yellow stripe down the inner 
side of each leaf. The flower is a dull leaden -purple. 

/. setosa. Pallas, 1820. So called because the standards 

are reduced to fine points, less than an inch long. 

The distribution is very unusual, for it is found 

growing in Northern Siberia, Japan, Sakhalin and 

Kamchatka and also in Alaska, Labrador, and on 

the coast of Maine. 

This curious species may be very ornamental as a 

garden plant and grows well in rather moist, rich soil. 

It is very floriferous and, though some forms are 

two feet or more in height, others are very dwarf. 

The colour may be either a light purplish-blue with 

inconspicuous darker veins or of any deeper shade and 

is sometimes even tinged with red. A rare white form 

has been found in Japan. The blade of the fall is 


either round or heart-shaped and there is an area near 
the end of the short style branches, where the white 
ground shows clearly between the veins. 

The standards are of two forms. They either narrow 
suddenly just above the base and then taper to a point 
or else after contracting slightly they expand again 
gradually and then contract sharply to a short fine tip. 
As far as I know, these two types of standard are found 
in all the local forms of the species. 

The broad foliage is often stained with deep purple 
at the base and is slightly shorter than the stems. 
The inflated capsules have a deep groove on each of 
the three sides and the numerous smooth, gloss}^ brown 
seeds have a ridge down the sides and are unlike those 
of any other Iris. When they are ripe, they detach 
themselves from the walls of the capsule and rattle 
inside it when the stem is shaken. 

A dwarf form which has been described under the 
name of arctica, comes from Alaska and is very similar 
to that which grows in Labrador. 

The only other non - bulbous Iris in which the 
standards are known to be reduced to mere points is 
I. tripetala, Walter (1788), from Florida, Tennessee and 
Carolina. The blue-purple falls are veined and mottled 
and resemble those of I. setosa. The foliage, however, 
is linear and much narrower and the seeds are thick, 
flat discs. This Iris will not flourish in the open in 
this country but must be grown in a greenhouse. 

/. unguicularis. Poiret, 1785. The species owes its 
name apparently to the narrowness of the bases 


of the segments of the flower. The botanical 
name for the narrow, lower end of a petal is 
unguis, a nail or claw, and unguiculus is a small or 
narrow nail or claw. The more euphonious but 
unfortunately younger name of stylosa was given 
by Desfontaines in 1798 to mark the fact that the 
style, before it separates into three branches, re- 
mains united in a column for nearly an inch above 
the bases of the segments of the flowers. The 
typical plant comes from Algeria and forms of it 
are found in Greece, both on the mainland and 
on the islands and also in Asia Minor and northern 
Syria. The variety lazica, Albow (1895), comes 
from Lazistan at the south-eastern end of the 
Black Sea. 
In the common Algerian form the leaves grow about 
18 or 24 inches in length and are a little more than 
half-an-inch broad. The stem is very short and 
hidden at the base of the leaves, the flowers being 
raised by a perianth tube six or more inches long. 
Consequently, the seed vessels are to be found at the 
ground level at the base of the leaves and take a long 
time to ripen owing to the fact that not much sunlight 
can reach them. 

The colour of the flowers varies a good deal and so 
does the time of flowering of the individual plant. 
The weather also is bound to influence a plant which 
should be in flower in the open at Christmas. After 
a hot, dry summer the flowers are usually abundant 
and the first appear in October, while after damp, 
sunless seasons none may appear until February. 


The flowers are relatively large. The spoon-shaped 
blade of the fall stands out almost horizontally and 
is of a bright lilac colour, with a small central area 
which is veined with deep lilac on a white and faint 
yellow ground. The standards, like the falls have 
narrow hafts and broad blades of the same colour as 
the falls. A most beautiful feature of all forms of 
this Iris is to be found on the narrow style branches 
which seem to be sprinkled with gold dust. 

There are in cultivation several ivory white varieties, 
which have a conspicuous yellow band on the blade 
of the falls. One of these white varieties is usually 
as early to flower as any but there are others, which 
do not come into bloom till February and March. 

In Greece there is a variety, sometimes apparently 
known as speciosa, of which the foliage is rather short 
and scanty and of which the flower is easily to be 
recognized by its dark, rich colour, by its strong scent 
of honey and by the ring of bosses which encircle the 
tube at the base of the segments of the flower. 

In Crete there is a small variety with narrow leaves 
and in Asia Minor another with extremely narrow, almost 
threadlike leaves and pale much- veined flowers. These 
small forms seldom flower freely until March or April. 

From the island of Cephalonia I once received a few 
plants of a very dwarf variety with some variation in 
the shade of purple in the flowers. A cross between 
this and the variety cretensis produced a series of 
colour forms, with foliage about a foot in length which 
flower very freely and make delightful plants for a 
rock garden or sloping bank. 


The variety lazica has short, broad foliage, which is 
Hable to be damaged by frost, and dark blue-purple 
flowers of no great beauty. As far as my experience 
goes, it is not nearly so desirable a garden plant as the 
Algerian type. It may be separated botanically by 
its short perianth tube and stem a few inches long. 

To make the typical Algerian variety flower freely, 
it should be grown close up against a sunny wall, in 
soil with which a large proportion of old lime rubble 
has been mixed. If the wall is that of a greenhouse, 
which hot-water pipes always keep warm, the plants 
will be very happy and respond to the treatment by 
flowering profusely all through the winter months. 

The best time at which to move I. unguicularis is 
as early in September as the soil is thoroughly moist. 
The clumps should be replanted in good-sized pieces 
and not separated into single rhizomes. Transplanta- 
tion can also, if necessary, be carried out with success 
in March or early April but care must then be taken 
to see that the soil is never allowed to become too hot 
or dry until the plants have thoroughly re-established 
themselves. Even so, it is doubtful whether anything 
is gained by planting in the spring instead of waiting 
till September when clumps can be moved so that 
they hardly feel the check at all. In fact, they will 
often flower the same winter. 

/. verna. Linnaeus, 1753. The spring-flowering Iris 
from the south-eastern United States from Vir- 
ginia to Alabama 
This small species seems to be the one approach to 


the development of a bearded Iris that is found in 
America. It has every appearance of a small pumila 
or chamaeiris except that there is no visible beard 
but merely a pubescent orange band on the falls con- 
sisting of short unicellular processes. 

The leaves are about six inches long. The stem is 
very short and the perianth tube between one and two 
inches. The blade of the fall is of bright lilac-blue, 
except for the central orange band, and the standards 
are of the same colour. 

I. verna deserves to be much more widely grown 
than it is. In my experience, it does best in rather 
moist, peaty soil in a half-shady position. This does 
not mean that it should be wet in winter, for it prob- 
ably needs to be kept fairly dry then. 

/. ruthenica. Ker-Gawler, 1808. So called from its 
home in the country of the Ruthenes in Transyl- 
vania and Roumania, this Iris is also found in the 
Altai region, in Turkestan and in many parts of 
This remarkable little species is quite unlike any 
other known Iris and deserves to be much more widely 
grown, either in the rock garden or in the front of 
borders, for it is never more than about eight inches 
high. The reason that it is so seldom seen is probably 
that it does not lend itself to the ordinary practice of 
moving Irises in the autumn. I. ruthenica can only 
be moved with success when it is in full growth in 
spring and summer. Another reason that may have 
made it unpopular is that some forms of this Iris are 


scarcely ever known to flower in this country. On 
the other hand the most accessible form, namely that 
from Transylvania, flowers profusely and has com- 
paratively large flowers with oblong falls extended 
almost horizontally and very prettily veined and 
shaded with dark blue-purple on a white ground which 
extends all over the blade except at the extreme edge. 
In the centre of the flower the dark blue standards and 
the large crests of the slightly redder style branches 
rise almost to the same height. 

The seeds of this Iris are very distinct and unlike 
those of any other species, for they have, when fresh, 
a curious white excrescence which extends nearly 
halfway round their circumference. It is, however, 
only conspicuous when the seeds are quite fresh, for 
it soon shrivels and disappears. Another curious habit 
of this Iris is that the almost spherical capsules open 
widely as soon as they are ripe, so that the seeds are 
at once dispersed. The seeds germinate readily and 
plants are easily raised. 

The foliage of the Transylvanian form is thin but 
fairly rigid with a glossy upper surface and standards 
nearly erect. Other forms have more prostrate tufts 
of narrower and less rigid leaves. The stems vary in 
height from an inch or two to six or eight inches and 
bear a single head of two flowers. 

I. ruthenica grows readily in any good garden soil, 
that is not too dry, when growth is active in spring 
and early summer. 


The Oncocyclus Section. 

The Irises of this section produce flowers which are 
no less weird and wonderful than the name of Oncocy- 
clus, of which no explanation has ever yet been given. 
Its author says that it was derived from two Greek 
words but refrains from saying what meaning he 
attached either to them or to the compound which he 
made of them. There is, however, obviously a 
reference to something circular and the name may 
have been given with reference to the broad circular 
white collar, which is so marked a feature of the seeds 
at the point by which they are attached in the seed 

All the species of this section possess seeds of this 
character and, except for differences in size, it is im- 
possible to draw any distinction between those of the 
various species. This seems to point to the inference 
that the section is of comparatively late development 
in the history of the genus, — an inference which is 
supported by the fact that the various species are very 
local in their distribution. Indeed the whole section 
is confined to Asia Minor and Syria and the moun- 
tainous regions to the south of the highest peaks of 
the Caucasus and in the west of Persia. 


No oncocyclus species produces more than one 
flower on each stem and the outer leaves in each tuft 
are usually more or less curved or falcate. The rhi- 
zomes are covered with a characteristic light reddish 
skin and are usually, though not in all cases, inclined 
to spread by means of stolons, the ends of which swell 
and develop into new rhizomes. 

The difficulty of the cultivation of these Irises in 
this country arises from the fact that they are all 
natives of regions where there is only a short wet 
season, during which growth is necessarily rapid, and 
a long resting season, during which the soil in contact 
with the rhizomes and roots is quite dry and warm. 
The main roots are thick and probably remain un- 
branched until the autumn or winter after their 
formation in the late spring. Some species, such as 
I. Mariae from the frontier between Egypt and Syria 
and probably also I. susiana, are natives of regions, 
where the only moisture comes from winter rains and 
these are therefore apt to grow early in the autumn in 
this country. The young growths then suffer in the 
winter and the plants are weakened and often collapse. 
It is only in exceptionally mild seasons or in excep- 
tionally sheltered positions that these species can be 
expected to survive and flower. Some species, on the 
other hand, such as I. Sari from the mountains of 
Cilicia and I. acutiloba from the Caucasus region, are 
probably frozen in the autumn before any rain comes 
and then covered deep in snow during the winter and 
only make their growth in spring. Such species 
should be more easy to manage and, as a matter of 


fact, I. Sari has been known to survive and flower in 
Surrey for more than ten years. 

There has been much controversy as to the best 
method of cultivating these species. There is no 
doubt that in their native homes they probably grow 
for the most part in heavy soil and particularly in that 
heavy red soil, which is found among the rocks in 
limestone districts in Southern Europe. In this country 
such soil is too wet in winter unless indeed the beds 
are arranged on so sharp a slope that all moisture 
drains rapidly away or unless some artificial means is 
provided for keeping off the rain. 

The soil therefore for Oncocyclus Irises must be well 
drained and it should be made porous by a liberal 
admixture of lime rubble, for these species require 
lime in the soil. Fresh manure is, of course, inad- 
visable, but it is useless to expect a plant to make 
vigorous growth in a comparatively short season in 
poor, barren soil. The soil should be fertile and in 
good condition and a sunny position against a wall 
facing south is the best situation for these Irises. 

The rhizomes may be planted in October and should 
flower in April and May. They should be dug up 
again about the middle of July and then stored in 
absolutely dry sand in a sunny shed or greenhouse, 
where they will remain dormant until the planting 
season comes round again in October. It is important 
to preserve intact the new root fibres, which should 
remain unbranched until growth begins again on re- 
planting. Another possible plan is to pack up the 
rhizomes in September before there is any sign of 


growth and keep them in cold storage at a temperature 
of about 32 degrees Fahr. until March and then plant 
them out. 

The nomenclature of the various species is extremely 
difficult owing to the fact that there are several which 
appear to differ only in colour and not in structure or 
in any other botanical character. Whether we group 
such plants together under one specific name or give 
a name to every colour -form depends on our con- 
ception of the nature of a species. The truth seems 
to be that in each locality there is a local form and it 
would be a mere multiplication of names to give a 
different specific name to each one. 

These Irises must be a wonderful sight in some 
regions, for I have met travellers who have told me 
that they have seen miles of country covered with one 
or two forms in the Moab region beyond the Jordan 
and they evidently struck the Egyptian invaders of 
Syria, for the earliest known representation of Irises 
occurs on an Egyptian bas relief of Thothmes III which 
must date from about 1500 B.C. This Pharaoh cul- 
tivated in Egypt a " Syrian Garden " of plants brought 
back from expeditions to that country and among 
those represented on the relief are obviously two 
Oncocyclus Irises. They have the stem bearing a 
single flower and a reduced leaf, while the flowers have 
the relatively large standards and the small, much 
recurved or tucked-in falls, characteristic of the 
Oncocyclus Irises. 

Although Clusius mentions that I. susiana was 
obtained from Constantinople as early as 1573, On- 


cocyclus Irises were probably but little cultivated in 
Western Europe until the latter half of the nineteenth 
century when Max Leichtlin in Baden Baden, Sir 
Michael Foster at Shelford, near Cambridge, and the 
Rev. W. Ewbank at Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, suc- 
ceeded in introducing into cultivation a number of 
species from Asia Minor, Persia and Syria. Foster 
was probably the first to attempt to combine the 
Oncocyclus species with the more easily cultivated Re- 
gehas and Pogoniris. In the first case he was followed 
by the firm of C. G. van Tubergen, in Haarlem, who 
evolved the numerous Regeliocyclus Irises, while in the 
latter he succeeded in raising hybrids of I. iberica x 
I. pallida, I. paradoxa x I. pallida and of I. iberica x 
I. variegata, which have proved admirable garden 
plants. Of iberica x pallida there are at least six or 
seven different varieties in cultivation, all of which 
are strong, sturdy growers in good soil. Foster himself 
told me that these were the survivors of some fourteen 
seedlings which he succeeded in raising. They ap- 
proach much more nearly in size to I. pallida than to I. 
iberica but the large flowers show distinct traces of the 
veining and conspicuous signal blotch of the Oncocylus 
parent. In my experience these hybrids are shallow 
rooting and will not continue to do well unless they 
are replanted every second or third year, either imme- 
diately after flowering, if they have only to be moved 
from one bed in the same garden to another, or else 
towards the end of August or early in September. 

The Regeliocyclus Irises afford a striking example 
of successful hybridisation, for they combine something 


of the form and beauty of the Oncocyclus species with 
the ease of cultivation of the RegeHas. The one 
essential point in their cultivation, at any rate in this 
country, is that they should be dug up every year 
about the middle of July, stored in a dr}^ warm place 
until about the second week in October and then re- 
planted in Hght, rich soil containing a fair proportion 
of lime rubble {see also p. 168). 

Of the large number of Regeliocyclus varieties which 
have been named and put into commerce, some of the 
best are :■ — Isis (Korolkowi violacea x iberica van 
Houtteana), Charon and Isolda (Korolkowi concolor x 
atropurpurea), Aspasia (Korolkowi concolor x Mariae), 
Hera (stolonifera X oncocyclus) and Luna. Mr. C. G. 
van Tubergen has recently published the parentage of 
these hybrids in a paper included in the report of the 
Iris Conference held in Paris in 1922. It is also stated 
there that the fine hybrid Aphrodite was raised by 
crossing Lorteti and Gatesi, and it is remarkable that 
a hybrid between two Oncocyclus species should be 
as easy to cultivate as any of the Regeliocyclus 

The determination of the various species or local 
forms of Oncocyclus Irises is an extremely difficult 
matter, for there are scarcely any definite structural 
characters to differentiate them. In fact among the 
larger species of which susiana and Lortetii are typical 
there seem to be no differences except those of colour. 
These and the other stout-growing Oncocyclus species, 
Gatesii, Bismarckiana, sofarana, and atrofusca might 
therefore almost be looked upon as local, colour forms 


of one species. 
as follows : — 


The smaller species may be separated 

Outer segments or falls concave. 
Outer segments or falls convex. 

1. 1 Outer segments short, narrow and strap- 
shaped, almost entirely covered with 
short stifi hairs. 

Outer segments with a blade broader 
than the haft. 

2. / Flowers uniform in colour. 

Flowers conspicuously veined. 

I. iberica 
(p. i6o). 

I. paradoxa 
(p. i6i). 


I, atropurpurea 

(p. 158). 
I. Barnumae 

(P- 158). 
I. Mariae 

(P- 159)- 
I. acutiioba 

(P- 156). 
I, meda 

(p. 161). 
I. Sari 

(p. 162). 

/. acutiioba. Meyer, 1831. The mountainous region to 

the south of the Caucasus and round the southern 

end of the Caspian. The name was given on 

account of the narrow, pointed segments of the 


This small species grows about six to nine inches high 

and has narrow, pointed falls with a dark signal patch 

and larger, closely veined standards. The veins and 

blotches are usually of a brown-purple colour on a 

creamy white ground. 


To face p. 156 

I. acutiloba x I. Korolkowi. 

(Two-thirds natural size). 


There is no doubt that there are a very large number 
of differently coloured but obviously closely allied 
Irises in this mountainous region, to which some will 
give different names and which others will group 
together under one specific name. Thus I. Ewbankiana 
was described by Foster as very similar to I. acutiloba 
and differing chiefly in the falls which extend horizon- 
tally instead of reflexing. When, however, we re- 
member how seedlings of I. pallida, for instance, vary 
in this way, it seems inadvisable to give specific rank 
to each small variation. An I. Schelkownikowii has 
also been described by Fomin and I have seen drawings 
from Tiflis of at least six forms, which differ only in 
having variously coloured grounds under the brown- 
purple veining. The ground may be either dark 
brownish-purple or lilac or even almost white. The 
broad beard is composed of densely set hairs, which 
are yellow in the lighter forms and yellow tipped with 
brown in the darker. 

7. atrofusca. Baker. A native of Palestine. A dusky 
blackish Iris. 
This is a somewhat dingy-coloured Iris and is prob- 
ably identical with one which was for some years 
obtainable under the name of I. Haynei. The large 
flowers are closely veined and dotted with reddish- 
black on a ground which is yellowish in the falls and 
grey in the standards. The centre of each thick vein 
is black but its edges look red when a petal is held up 
to the light. The foliage is broad, similar to that of 
I. susiana and not noticeably falcate. 


/. airopurpurea. Baker, 1889. A native of Syria, 

probably in the country immediately to the east 

of the Jordan. 

Of this species the somewhat scant}^ foliage is very 

falcate, the leaves being not much more than six inches 

long at flowering time. The rounded standards are 

of a dark reddish-black on which the black veins are 

inconspicuous. The falls are narrower and more oval 

in outline, of a deep, almost black colour. There is 

a central region along the haft where the scattered, 

yellowish, black- tipped hairs of the broad beard stand 

out from a greenish-yellow ground. In front of this 

there is a conspicuous, velvety patch of dense black. 

I. Barnumae. Foster and Baker, 1888. This was 

named after Mrs. Bamum of the American Mission 

at Kharput, by whom plants were sent to Foster. 

It is a native of the mountains of north-eastern 

Asia Minor, near Lake Urumiah. 

I. Barnumae is distinguished from most other 

Oncocyclus species by its self-coloured flowers. These 

are wholly of a dark vinous red colour with rounded 

segments, the standards being merely of a slightly 

paler shade than the falls. There is none of the coarse, 

conspicuous veining and dotting which occurs on 

nearly all the other species. 

Yellow flowered forms have been described under 
the names of I. urmiensis and of I. chrysantha, but 
Foster received both yellow and purple forms from 
Lake Urumiah and there seems no reason to doubt 
that this species is as variable in colour as I. chamaeiris 
or I. pumila. 


It is difficult to separate from I. Bamumae an Iris 
which has been described as I. Mariae and which grows 
at El Arisch on the frontier between Egypt and Pales- 
tine. The self-coloured flowers are of some shade of 
lilac or red-purple and the plant has the narrow glaucous 
foliage of I. Barnumae. Only the outer leaves in each 
tuft are curved or falcate. Some rhizomes which were 
collected by Major F. C. Stem at El Arisch about 1916, 
during the advance of the British Forces from Egypt 
into Palestine, are still in cultivation in pots in this 
country and flower annually. 

7. Bismarckiana. Dammann, 1890. A species from 
Northern Palestine. 
This is a large plant, similar in growth to I. susiana 
and I. Lortetii, from which it differs only in its colour 
scheme. The large round standards are densely veined 
and dotted with blue on a creamy-white ground, while 
the falls are dotted all over and veined near the edge 
with black-purple on a creamy-yellow ground. There 
is a velvety black blotch on the falls and the beard is 
composed of purple-black hairs on a pale yellowish 

7. Gatesii. Foster, 1889. This was named after the 

Rev. T. J. Gates of the American Mission, at 

Mardin, in Northern Mesopotamia, and is a native 

of Kurdistan. 

I. Gatesii has probably the largest flowers of any 

known species, for the rounded standards are five inches 

in diameter and the falls are almost, if not quite, as 


broad. The ground colour is a pale greenish or grey- 
white, closely marked with fine purplish veins and 
dots. The broad beard is composed of scattered 
greenish hairs and there is a small purplish blotch on 
the falls. 

/. iherica. Hoffman, 1808. A native of the Caucasus, 
Armenia and Northern Persia. 
This species is easily recognized and separated from 
the others by its concave or spoon-shaped falls. The 
standards are either white, or pale yellow in the variety 
ochracea, faintly dotted and veined with purple-brown. 
The falls are circular or rounded oblong and are closely 
covered with a network of brown-purple veins. The 
beard is of short brownish hairs and there is beyond 
it on the blade of the falls a velvety blotch of purple- 
black. There are several forms of this species whose 
differences are chiefly due to the exact shade of colour 
in the veins and the ground may sometimes be hlac 
instead of white or yellow. The stem is from three to 
six inches high and the glaucous foliage is very falcate. 

/. Lortetii. Barbey, 1881. Named after Dr. Lortet, 

of Lyons, who found it growing on the southern 

slopes of Lebanon in thickets of the cochineal oak, 

Quercus coccifera. 

This is one of the most beautiful of all Irises and 

owes its beauty to the wonderful colouring. The 

rounded falls are closely and minutely dotted with 

crimson on a creamy ground and there is a central 

blotch of dark crimson. The beard is of scattered. 


brownish hairs. The large standards are finely veined 
with reddish- violet on a white or pale lavender ground. 
The foliage is broad for an Oncocyclus Iris and erect 
rather than falcate. The stem is nine inches to a foot 
in height. 

/. meda. Stapf, 1885. A native of Central Persia, the 
home of the Medes. 
This is a small species with a stem about four inches 
high. It is not unlike I. acutiloba except that the 
segments are more rounded and it differs from 
I. Bamumae in having a network of thick purple veins. 
The falls are either lilac-purple or greenish-yellow with 
a yellow beard and dark blotch and the standards of 
a shghtly paler shade of the same colour as the falls. 

/. paradoxa. Steven, 1817. Northern Persia, Armenia 
and the neighbourhood of Elizabethpol, in Trans- 

This is one of the most extraordinary of all Irises 
and deserves its name, " The Unexpected." The 
standards are orbicular and closely veined and dotted 
with dark blue-purple on a blue or white ground. The 
form with the white ground is known as the variety 
Choschab and comes apparently from the southern 
shores of the Caspian. 

The falls are narrow and strap shaped, about two 
inches long and half to threequarters of an inch broad, 
with a rounded end. The ground is usually a pale 
pinkish-crimson and it is closely covered with dark 
purplish-black hairs so that it looks and feels like velvet. 


The extreme tip is heavily veined on the pink ground, 
which appears as a narrow band separating the veined 
area from the velvet. 

I. paradoxa was crossed by Foster with pallida and 
variegata and in both cases its influence produced the 
characteristic velvety appearance on the falls. It has 
also been used in some of the Regeliocyclus hybrids 
and the result is always a flower in which the falls are 
noticeably narrow and oblong in outline. 

/. Sari. Schott, 1876. A native of Cilicia and central 

Asia Minor, where it was first found by Kotschy 

in 1854, near the river Sar. 

This species is intermediate in size between the small 

species of the Caucasus, such as I. acutiloba, and such 

large Syrian plants as I. Lortetii and I. Gatesii. The 

stems are six or eight inches high and the oblong 

standards and falls are heavily blotched and veined 

with lilac, purple or chestnut-brown on a grey, yellow 

or lavender ground. The colouring is so curious that 

Foster, in 1887, named it I. lupina and it is so variable 

in colour that in 1896 Freyn described another form 

as I. Manissadjani. 

/. sofarana. Foster, 1899. Named after the locality 

on Lebanon, Ain Sofar, from which it was obtained 

by a collector sent by Mr. C. G. van Tubergen, of 


This Iris is very similar in size and growth to 

I. susiana and differs from it only in colour. The 

ground is creamy-white instead of grey and the veins 

are dark purple instead of black. 


/. susiana. Linnaeus, 1753. This Iris was apparently 
named after Susa, the ancient capital of Persia, 
though there is no evidence that it came from that 
neighbourhood. Its native habitat is in fact 
unknown though from its appearance we might 
suppose that it must come either from the Lebanon 
or from some neighbouring district. The fact 
that it was sent to Western Europe in 1573 by 
Busbecq, the Austrian Ambassador at Constanti- 
nople, shows how long it has been in cultivation. 
In these days it is largely grown as a market flower 
in the south of France and in North Italy. 
In good health it is a vigorous plant with broad 
yellowish-green leaves, twelve or fifteen inches high 
and an inch broad, of which only the outermost in each 
tuft are falcate. The stem is ten to fifteen inches high 
and the flowers larger than those of any species except 
I. Gatesii. The colour is produced by dark purple- 
black veins and dots on a grey ground. On the 
standards the veins are less closely set than on the falls 
and the effect is therefore somewhat lighter. 


The Regelia Section. 

This small group of five specialized species of Bearded 
Irises is confined to Russian Turkestan and to the 
country to the south-east of that region. It was named 
in honour of Dr. Regel, the botanist, of St. Petersburg 
who introduced into cultivation so many good plants 
from Central Asia. In this he was helped by his son. 
Dr. Albert Regel, who travelled through Turkestan 
about 1885. 

The Regeha Irises are most closely allied to the 
Oncocyclus species. The seeds of the two sections 
are indistinguishable and quite unlike those of any 
other section. Moreover, the rhizomes are very similar 
with the same bright red skin. Of some species, in 
particular of stolonifera and Hoogiana, the new growths 
form at the end of slender stolons often four or six 
inches long, but the rhizomes of Korolkowi are much 
more compact and difficult to distinguish from those ' 
of the more free growing Oncocyclus species. The 
real difference lies in the fact that an Oncocyclus Iris 
never produces more than one flower on each stem, 
while the stems of the Regelia species bear a terminal 
head of at least two and often of three flowers. "^ 

Another, and a very important, difference between 
the two sections lies in the fact that the Oncocyclus 


species make new and rapid growth in the autumn in 
spite of every effort to keep them back, while well 
ripened rhizomes of RegeHa Irises, will, if planted at 
the end of the first week of October, remain so far 
dormant that the new shoots do not begin to appear 
above the surface until the New Year. 

To those who know them well there is a curiously 
wellbred and refined appearance about Regelia Irises, 
which is absent from the commoner Pogoniris. It is 
difficult to define the difference but one has only to 
compare a good flower of I. Hoogiana {see fig. 19, p. 172), 
with even the best pallida to appreciate it fully. Un- 
fortunately Hoogiana has hitherto suffered from the 
fact that its appearances in public have chiefly been 
made at the Chelsea Show, where the yellow light that 
enters through the canvas converts the blue tones of 
the flower when seen in the sunlight into duU purples, 
but once it becomes known as it grows in the garden, 
it wiU be recognized as one of the finest of all Irises. 

Iris Hoogiana is remarkable for its uniform colour, 
whereas the veining of I. Korolkowi is in some of its 
forms clearer and cleaner than that of any other Iris. 

I. Korolkowi has curiously elongated and usually 
pointed segments closely veined with dark purple or 
olive-green on a white, cream or purplish ground. 
Seedhngs are easily raised and, as there is endless 
variety among them, it hardly seems worth while to 
keep up the four or six names which have been given 
to varieties in trade catalogues. Concolor is that given 
to a variety in which the flowers are wholly of a dark 
reddish-purple but many of the best forms seem to be 


still unnamed. The rhizome is very compact and 
increases rapidly, so that the new growths push up 
in close tufts, which in favourable seasons flower 
freely. In all cases the beard is very dark and usually 
does not extend beyond the end of the styles. 

I. stolonifera was named by reference to the re- 
markable construction of the spreading rhizome. When 
growth is vigorous in spring, slender stolon or runners 
push out in all directions and come to the surface four 
or six inches away from the parent plant. The ex- 
tremity of each stolon then swells rapidly until it is 
perhaps nearly an inch in diameter by the time the 
growth is mature about the tenth of July. 

The flowers of this species are a remarkable and 
beautiful mixture of reddish-purple edged with brown, 
while there is usually a sheen of light or deep electric- 
blue spread over the centre of both standards and falls. 
The beards are prominent both on the blade of the falls 
and also on the inner side of the standards, so that 
each flower has really six beards. The colour is usually 
blue in front, though fading to white or even becoming 
yellow at the base. In rare cases, it is bright yellow 
on the blade of the falls and I am inclined to think that 
the actual colour in any individual plant may vary a 
little from year to year. 

I. darwasica from Bokhara, which has also been in 
cultivation under the name of Suwarowi, is a slender 
species with rather colourless flowers, veined with pale 
purple on a faintly greenish ground. The falls and 
the standards taper to a long, fine point in a way that 
is apparently peculiar to this species. 


L falcifolia is a still more slender species from the 
neighbourhood of Askabad and also from Afghanistan 
and Beluchistan but, though it appears from herbarium 
specimens to be very floriferous, and therefore pre- 
sumably decorative, in its native home, it has ap- 
parently never been introduced into cultivation and 
we do not even know what is the colour of the flowers. 

The most recently introduced and by far the most 
striking and pleasing member of the whole section is 
I. Hoogiana, a really magnificent Iris. It troubles the 
florist, perhaps, and the admirer of named varieties, 
for there is a considerable range of colour among 
collected specimens. Some are a pale almost sky-blue, 
others as pale as pallida dalmatica, while others again 
are of a darker blue-purple. In every case there is a 
conspicuous beard of closely set orange hairs and the 
beard is almost as obvious on the inner side of the 
standards as it is on the blade of the falls. I. Hoogiana 
has the excellent habit of remaining dormant longer 
than any of the other species, so that it is less hkely 
to be crippled by late frosts, but, when once it begins 
to grow about the end of January, it grows faster than 
the other species and is almost always in flower early 
in May, before either Korolkowi or stolonifera. 

Why is it that these beautiful Irises are so seldom 
grown ? They are no more difficult or more trouble- 
some than Gladioli or Dahlias or any other plant that 
has to be lifted and stored for some months each year. 
They have, moreover, the advantage that they have 
to be lifted and stored in the summer, when storage 
space is usually more readily available than in winter. 


when room has to be found for so many other plants. 
The only real difficulty is to know exactly when to lift 
the plants. What we have to aim at is to allow the 
new growths and the new roots to become thoroughly 
mature and yet to lift the plants before the latter have 
begun to branch. The state of the fohage alone is no 
certain indication of the right time at which to hft, 
for the leaves usually begin to turn yellow before the 
rhizomes and roots are really mature. If the rhizomes 
are lifted at this stage, the roots will wither and perish 
before planting time comes in October and our object 
is to preserve them intact until that time, so that as 
soon as the rhizomes are planted, the roots will send 
out the fine lateral shoots, which immediately anchor 
the plants securely in the ground. Experience is the 
only thing that can teach the exact moment, usually 
about the loth or 14th of July in the south of England, 
when the plants may safely, and should, be lifted. 
The main point is to wait as long as possible for the 
roots to mature and yet not long enough to allow them 
to send out lateral rootlets. My own plan is to dig 
them up and leave them lying in an open but shaded 
place for two or three days. Then the foliage can be 
cut off and the rhizomes stored in open trays or in 
stout paper bags in a dry place until October. It is 
well either to fumigate the shed, in which they are 
stored, with hydrocyanic acid gas at intervals of two 
or three weeks or else to scatter naphthalene balls 
freely among the rhizomes. Otherwise they are almost 
certain to be attacked with myriads of white flies, of 
which it is by no means easy to rid them. 


The soil for these Irises should be well drained, 
fairly rich in humus and well provided with lime, 
preferably in the form of old mortar rubble or failing 
that, of bone meal and superphosphate. In heavy 
soil the beds should be raised, so that as little rain 
soaks in as may be. If, in summer, it is possible to 
arrange Ughts over the beds, so that they remain 
quite dry from the end of June until October, the 
plants will naturally be stronger than if they are lifted 
and replanted but, on the other hand, it is by no means 
easy, especially in wet summers so to arrange the beds 
that water does not soak through to the roots. When 
this happens, growth will begin again early in the 
autumn and then the plants are likely to suffer from 
the effect of severe frost on the young foliage. 

Even if the plants are left uncovered, it may well 
happen that in favourable situations and after a dry, 
hot summer and autumn they come to no harm in the 
winter and of course they should be stronger and more 
fioriferous in the following spring than if they had 
been lifted. Sooner or later, however, Regelia Irises 
that remain unlifted wiU be so crippled by the winter 
weather as not to be worth growing. 

Beds for these Irises should be arranged in open 
sunny positions and, if they can have the protection 
of a south wall, so much the better. Sun they must 
have and it is useless to expect them to flourish in cold, 
sunless situations. In the south of England they all 
flower in May and the stems grow to a height of 18 to 
24 inches. 

Seedlings are quite easy to raise, except that the 


seeds germinate very irregularly and may lie dormant 
for several years before they start into growth. They 
should be sown as soon as ripe in well-drained pots 
of rich, light soil. The pots should be sunk to the 
rim in ashes or sand in the open, where they will be 
fully exposed to frost and snow, which seems to have 
a most beneficial effect upon them. Early in the new 
year the almost colourless tips of seedlings will begin 
to appear and then the pots should be given the pro- 
tection of a frame or cold house and the young plants 
should be encouraged to make as rapid growth as 
possible. When the leaves begin to turn yellow, no 
more water should be given but the pots and their 
contents should be thoroughly baked on a sunny 
shelf or in a dry frame. Then in September the plants 
may be shaken out and the ungerminated seeds resown. 
The young seedlings should be planted in the open 
with the mature plants early in October and should 
flower in their second season. 

Hybrids between Korolkowi and stolonifera are easy 
to raise and in most cases very beautiful. The colours 
are very rich and are set off by a deep blue or dark 
brown beard. I. Hoogiana could probably also be 
combined with other species but it is so beautiful in 
itself that it is hard to believe that any hybrid could 
be preferable to the species. 

All the species of the Regelia section have many 
characters in common. The foHage is slender, of a 
glaucous green, often flushed with purple at the base. 
The stem never branches but bears a single head of 
two or three flowers, and two or three reduced leaves. 


The spathes are keeled and wholly green or herbaceous. 
There is practically no pedicel below the ovary but 
always a tube of about an inch in length above it. 
The various species may be separated as follows : — 

Rhizome comparatively compact. i. 

Rhizome producing stolons. 3. 

I. I Leaves linear, very narrow. I. falcifolia 

(p. 172). 
Leaves at least half-an-inch broad. 2. 

f Falls broad, narrowing suddenly to an I. Korolkowi 
oblong haft. (p. 173). 

Falls narrow, tapering gradually to a I. darwasica 
long point and into the haft. (p. 171). 

3. f Flowers uniform in colour. I. Hoogiana 

(p. 172). 
I Flowers a mixture of blue and brown- I. stolonifera 
I purple. (p. 173). 

/. darwasica. Regel, 1884. From the district of Darwas 
in Turkestan. 

This species is the first to flower of all the Regelia 
Irises and the buds usually open about the middle of 
April. The flowers are rather inconspicuous and re- 
markable rather for their long pointed segments than 
for any beauty of colouring. The ground is a pale 
green or brown, closely veined with brownish red and 
the beard is of white hairs tipped with blue. It is a 
slender species with a stem eight to twelve inches long 
bearing a single head of two or three flowers. 

Other forms, which are certainly very closely allied, 
have been described under the names of Suwarowi and 


lineata but it is impossible to find any good botanical 
characters by which to separate them. Colour alone 
is surely insufficient. 

/. falcifolia. Bunge, 1847. Transcaspia, Afghanistan, 
This smaU species has apparently never been in 
cultivation and our knowledge of it is confined to 
herbarium specimens. The foliage is very slender, 
the leaves being six to ten inches long by quarter inch 
broad and the stems are about eight to twelve inches 
long, bearing a single head of two flowers. The seg- 
ments of the flower are rather pointed and the colour 

/. Hoogiana. Dykes, 1919. In " Gardeners' Chronicle," 

1919, I, p. 277. Another fine Turkestan species, 

which I was glad to be able to name after the two 

brothers Hoog, who now constitute the firm of 

Van Tubergen, in Haarlem. It was due to their 

enterprise that rhizomes were imported in 1913 

from Southern Turkestan, where it was discovered 

by their collector, Graeber. 

I. Hoogiana is perhaps the most aristocratic of all 

Irises. There is a grace and distinction about the 

large flowers of uniform colour, set off by the bright 

golden beard, which is not found even in the best 

palUdas. The texture is fine and delicate and the 

outline of the flowers particularly pleasing (see fig. 19). 

The stems may be 18 to 30 inches high and bear a 

single head of two or three flowers. The colour is 


To facep 172. 

I. Hoogiana. 

(Half natural size). 


either a very pale grey-blue or some darker shade of 
blue-purple. A few white forms appeared among the 
collected plants but they were not vigorous and have 
almost, if not entirely, died out of cultivation. 

I. Korolkowi. Kegel, 1873. A native of Russian 
Turkestan and named after General Korolkow, by 
whom specimens were first sent to Petrograd. 
I. Korolkowi is distinguished from the other Regelia 
Irises by its compact rhizome, which rarely forms 
stolons or running growths and by its delicately veined 
flowers. The segments of the flower are long and 
pointed and the inconspicuous beard consisting of 
deep black or greenish-black hairs. The ground colour 
is usually a creamy white, but may be either light or 
deep purple and the veins are either olive-green, black 
or dark purple. The stem is about 15 to 18 inches in 
height and bears a terminal head of two or three 
flowers. Local forms vary a good deal both in colour 
and in the size of the flowers. Some of the best come 
from Bokhara. 

/. stolonifera. Maximowicz, 1880. A native of Bokhara 
and of other parts of Russian Turkestan. 
This fine species was named with reference to its 
habit of increasing by means of new growths which 
form at a distance from the original rhizome at the 
ends of stolons often six or eight inches in length. This 
is a characteristic which it shares with I. Hoogiana 
but the latter is easily recognized by its flowers of a 
uniform colour. Those of I. stolonifera are usually of 


a curious shade of light or dark brown-purple, shot 
especially in the middle of the standards and falls with 
a light or deep shade of electric-blue. The edges of 
the segments are frilled and wavy and the beard is 
either blue or yellow or even of yellow hairs tipped 
with blue. The actual colour seems to vary in the 
different forms and even in the same plant from year 
to year. Like all Regelia Irises, I. stolonifera is often 
very conspicuously bearded on the inner side of the 
standards as well as on the falls. There are many 
varieties of this species differing in the shades of blue 
and brown in the flowers and in the height of the stem. 
This varies from 12 to 24 inches but bears only a 
single head of two or three flowers. There seems, 
however, to be no good reason for distinguishing more 
than one species, as has sometimes been done under 
the names of Leichtlini and vaga. 

I. stolonifera has been crossed with I. Korolkowi to 
produce very richly coloured hybrids of which the 
conspicuous beards are either dark brown or deep blue. 
It will also cross with various Pogoniris but the hybrids 
have always been so ugly that it has not been worth 
while to keep them. The flowers are usually streaked 
with confused colours and by no means pleasing. 


The Pseudoregelia Section. 

This small section contains, as far as is known, only- 
four species and corresponds on the south and eastern 
sides of the Hindu Kush and Himalaya ranges to the 
Regelias on the north-western slopes. 

All the species of the section agree in having curiously 
mottled flowers, blotched with a deep shade of purple 
on a lighter ground and oblong rather than rounded 
standards, extended at an angle of about 45 degrees. 
The seeds are similar to those of the RegeUa section 
but smaller and with a less conspicuous, circular white 
attachment. The rhizomes are compact and gnarled 
in appearance and do not increase rapidly or lend 
themselves to easy division. The seeds, too, appear 
to be slow to germinate in this country and, as it is 
only with great difficulty that rhizomes are obtained, 
there seems little chance of these Irises becoming 
common in our gardens. Moreover, it is not easy to 
cultivate them successfully, for they are used to a 
climate under which they grow rapidly in the spring 
and send up their flowers along with the new leaves. 
Before midsummer the foliage will have obtained its 
complete development and it will then wither away 
and the plants will remain dormant until the following 
spring. In this country the plants are apt either to 


rot in our mild, wet winters or else to start prematurely 
into growth early in the year only to be cut back and 
crippled by late frosts. 

These Irises seem to prefer a rather rich, light soil, 
which, in spring at any rate, is weU supplied with 
moisture. In summer the plants should be kept dry, 
once the foliage has withered, and the more they are 
roasted, the more freely do they flower in the following 

The four species ma^-' be distinguished by the fact 
that kumaonensis has practically no stem and a com- 
paratively long tube, whereas in all the others the 
flower stem is several inches in length. Of the three 
species, which always produce a stem of some length, 
I. goniocarpa is a slender plant with only one flower 
on each stem ; I. Hookeriana and I. sikkimensis are 
both stouter plants, whose spathes are two-flowered. 
In the former the tube is quite short, less than an inch 
in length, while in the latter it is twice as long. 

All the species are of relatively slender growth and 
are better accommodated in the rock garden than in the 
open border. In their native homes, I. kumaonensis 
and I. Hookeriana appear to be very common and to 
grow in large masses, while I. goniocarpa appears to 
grow scattered about over the Alpine meadows. 

The species of the section may be distinguished as 
follows : — 

[ Stem very short ; perianth tube 2 to 3 I. kumaonensis 
inches long. (p. 177). 

Stem several inches long. i. 


I. [ Plants small and slender ; stems bearing I. goniocarpa 
a single flower. (p. 178). 

Plants sturdier ; stems bearing two 
flowers. 2, 

2. 1 Perianth tube short ; less than i inch. I. Hookeriana 

J _ (P- T^77)- 

j Perianth tube much longer than the I. sikkimensis 
V ovary. (p. 178). 

/. kumaonensis. Wallich. On the southern slopes of 
the Himalayas in the Kumaon and Garhwal 
This species is stemless at flowering time and flowers 
when the leaves are only four to six inches long, to 
which height the flowers are raised by the long perianth 
tube. The seed capsule develops at the base of the 
leaves which, when mature, are as much as eighteen 
inches in length. In this respect the growth resembles 
very closely that of the Algerian I. unguicularis. The 
flowers are veined and mottled with a dark shade of 
purple on a lighter ground. The beard is composed 
of close-set, rather fine white hairs, more or less dis- 
tinctly tipped with yellow. 

I. Hookeriana. Foster, 1887. Common in Kashmir, 
extending also into Garhwal and Western Tibet. 
This species differs from kumaonensis as I. chamaeris 
differs from I. pumila, i.e. by the lengthening of the 
stem and by the shortening of the perianth tube, which 
is not more than one inch long. The flowers are 
mottled in the same way as those of I. kumaonensis 
and the two plants flourish under similar conditions. 


This seems to be the common Iris of the Kashmir 
hills and is not difficult to cultivate in this country, 
especially if the rhizomes are well ripened in summer. 
In this case the plants remain dormant until a later 
date in spring and so escape the risk of damage by 
late spring frosts. 

/. goniocarpa. Baker, 1876, Sikkim, the Chumbi 
valley, Tibet and south-western China. 

This species closely resembles I. Hookeriana, from 
which it differs chiefly by its more slender growth and 
by the fact that its spathes produce only one flower. 
The small flower is of a blue-purple shade with deeper 
blotches, and a beard of close-set, white hairs tipped 
with orange. An albino form was found by Farrer in 
Western China. 

This species appears to vary a good deal according 
to the elevation at which it grows and, though Farrer 
seems to have thought at first that there were more 
species than one in Western China, yet in the end he 
confessed that he agreed that the truth was that there 
were only local forms of this one species. A plant 
raised from seeds, which he sent home was a compact 
grower, not more than six or eight inches high and did 
well for some years in rather rich, light vegetable soil 
in a sunny garden where it was not allowed to get too 
dry in the growing season in spring, 

/. sikkimensis. Dykes 1912. 

The plant, on which the original description of this 
species is based, was said to come from Sikkim, though 


the evidence was not conclusive. When it flowered, 
it was obviously distinct from the other three species, 
for it has the stem of I. Hookeriana and a long tube, 
resembling that of I. kumaonensis. Moreover, when 
it grew side by side with the other species, it looked 
very different. Its foliage was much narrower than 
that of I. Hookeriana and yet did not attain the length 
or the vigour of that of I. kumaonensis. 


The Pogoniris Section of Bearded Irises. 

This section of the genus is on the whole the best known 
in our gardens but it is by no means the most widely 
distributed in nature. It seems, indeed, as if the 
Bearded Irises are a later development from the older 
beardless Irises and this does not appear so improbable 
when we remember that under the microscope most 
Apogons or Beardless Irises appear to have a beard. 
The " hairs," however, consist in this case of a single 
cell, quite different in structure from the succession or 
line of cells, which form the " hairs " of the beard of 
the Pogoniris. 

The theory that the Bearded species are a compara- 
tively late development in the history of the genus is 
moreover supported by the fact that they are confined 
to Europe and Asia and do not extend into America 
or further east than Western China. 

The determination of the names of the various 
species of this section has always been a difficulty 
owing to the fact that Bearded Irises have been cul- 
tivated as garden plants for many centuries. This is 
due in no small measure to the fact that the rhizomes 
of these species can easily be carried about in the 
resting state and are difficult to kill in any country 


which enjoys a hot, dry summer, whereas a journey 
of a few days in hot weather is often fatal to such 
species as I. sibirica. It is probable for instance, that 
the variety, which we know as Kharput, was intro- 
duced into Kashmir, where it is now naturalized in the 
neighbourhood of Srinagar, by one or other of the many 
invaders, who from time to time have made their way 
into India from Central and Western Asia through the 
passes of the north-west frontier. The plant was 
named Kharput by Sir Michael Foster when he re- 
ceived it from the town of that name in Asia Minor. 
The same variety is also planted on the Guards' 
Memorial at Sebastopol in the Crimea and it is not 
unreasonable to suppose that the plants were found 
growing in that neighbourhood also. 

Another curious instance is the presence in Khat- 
mandu, the capital of Nepal, of the variety which is 
not uncommon in the south of France and which we 
know as atropurpurea. It was found naturalized in 
Nepal by Walhch more than a hundred years ago and 
yet there can be little doubt that it is an importation 
from the west. It may be asked whether the reverse 
of this theory may not really be the truth and that the 
plants reached Asia Minor from the East, but it seems 
very unlikely that these two plants can be natives of 
India, partly because they only occur near cultivated 
areas in the two localities mentioned and partly 
because they are entirely unlike any of the species 
which are obviously indigenous. 

Iris albicans is probably the greatest traveller of all 
Irises. Its home is on the mountains of the Yemen 


district in the south-east of Arabia and from there it 
has been carried wherever the Mahomedans have gone. 
It is common along the North African coast, in Spain, 
in Sicily and in Asia Minor and it has even been carried 
across to Mexico from Spain, where it was probably 
introduced by the Moors. It is always found on or 
near ground that has once been inhabited and its wide 
distribution is due to the fact that it is planted in 
Mahomedan graveyards. 

This artificial distribution of many bearded Irises 
makes it extremely difficult to decide what are the 
native species of any area that has for centuries been 
more or less thickly populated. It is only when a 
knowledge has been obtained of the species, which are 
undoubtedly wild in mountainous country or in un- 
inhabited areas that it is possible to assert with some 
conviction that certain plants are not native and that 
their introduction must have been due to human 

A further difficulty is due to the fact that plants do 
not behave in cultivation as they do in the wild state. 
They are much more liable to variation even apart 
from the risks of cross fertilization to which they are 
subject when they are growing in gardens alongside 
other species. Thus the so-called I. germanica is not 
known anywhere as a wild plant nor is it known for 
certain from what species it arose by hybridisation. 
It may of course have arisen from some Mediterranean 
species which has long ago been exterminated as a 
wild plant and in that case its origin will always remain 
a puzzle. The only fact that we may claim as certain 


seems to be that it is not a native of Germany. It has 
never been found growing wild in any locaHty far 
removed from any inhabited area and moreover it 
makes new growth in the late summer and autumn and 
retains these leaves in winter. Yet winters in Germany 
are very cold and all the species, which are undoubtedly 
natives of Germany and Austria, such as pumila, 
aphylla, sibirica, spuria and variegata, lose their leaves 
in autumn and remain dormant until the spring, as might 
be expected of plants indigenous in a region where hard 
frost usually lasts for several weeks each winter. 

The common form of the so-called I. germanica that 
is found in gardens in England is different from those 
found on the Continent, where indeed there are several 
different forms. The flowers will often be found to 
be slightly malformed and the pollen is very scanty, 
two signs which seem to point to the hybrid origin of 
the plant. The nearest approach to a wild form seems 
to be I. Kochii, of which I found specimens growing 
high up on rocky ground between the two arms of 
Lake Como, in a position in which it seemed as though 
it must be wild and not merely an escape from culti- 
vation. Rhizomes from this source have since flowered 
well in this country but refuse to set seed, possibly 
because they are all divisions of one plant and sterile 
to their own pollen. 

Another curious puzzle lies in the fact that in the 
rare cases in which seeds of one or other of the various 
forms of " germanica " have been obtained and seed- 
lings raised from them, they have always been dwarfer 
plants than their parent and they usually resemble 


I. aphyUa. Thus Kurdistan and Srinagar are twin 
seedlings of Kharput, while Veglia is a self-coloured, 
Hght blue-purple seedling of a " germanica " that I 
found growing on the Adriatic island of that name. 
It is doubtful whether we shall ever now discover the 
origin of these various germanicas or be able to decide 
whether there really is a wild species or not. 

Another curious fact about the Bearded Irises is 
that apparently it is only in this section that hybrids 
between species occur wild in nature. For instance, 
there is a shallow valley high up in the Velebit Moun- 
tains in Croatia, where small forms of I. pallida and 
of I. variegata occur and with them hybrids between 
the two species. The same two species and similar 
hybrids between them are found near Bozen in the 
southern Tyrol, where the plants are larger and more 
vigorous. Moreover it was probably to hybrids coming 
originally from this latter district that Linnaeus gave 
the names of sambucina and squalens and it is certainly 
to their two parents, pallida and variegata, that we 
owe most of the older garden Bearded Irises, which 
were long known as " German " Irises. 

The cultivation of the Pogoniris Section is extremely 
easy, provided that the plants are given three things, 
without which successful cultivation for any length of 
time is impossible and these three things are sunshine, 
lime and good drainage. It is true that plants will 
struggle on for years in shady positions but they will 
seldom flower or at any rate not flower freely. In a 
soil that is sour for lack of lime or waterlogged from 
lack of good drainage the rhizomes will soon rot. 



If old mortar rubble is not available, lime is best 
given in the form of superphosphate and this may be 
scattered among the plants at the rate of an ounce or 
two to the square yard and then washed in. Super- 
phosphate of lime has the special advantage that its 
acid reaction is capable of killing the bacillus which 
causes the disease known as Pseudomonas iridis or 
Rhizome Rot, though it is also a fact that Irises growing 
on a limestone, and therefore non-acid soil, seldom 
suffer from the disease. For this reason it is always 
well to add to soil in which Irises are to be grown as 
much old mortar rubble as can be obtained. It adds 
the necessary lime and at the same time renders the 
soil more open and porous and thus ensures good 

There has been from time to time much difference 
of opinion as to the best period for transplanting 
Bearded Irises. There is no doubt that Pogoniris are 
shallow rooting and that they rapidly exhaust the 
available supplies of nourishment within reach of 
their roots. Consequently they should be lifted and 
replanted in fresh soil every third year. In poor soil 
it may even be advisable to transplant the small 
species, such as I. pumila, every second year. 

Examination of a rhizome of a plant in flower shows 
that no fresh growth is taking place from the end of 
the rhizome at the base of the flower stem but that 
new roots are just pushing out from non-flowering 
rhizomes and from the young lateral offshoots which 
are just beginning to develop on either side of the 
flower stem. The peculiarity of these root fibres is 


that they grow to their full length before branching 
out into rootlets. While they are developing, they 
grow rapidly and are very tender and brittle. From 
these facts we may draw two conclusions ; one is that 
the rhizomes should be in their new positions before 
the roots send out their rootlets and the other that the 
main roots must not be damaged. We are therefore 
faced with two difficulties in transplanting Irises, one 
being to get the operation finished early enough and 
the other to avoid damage to the roots while they are 
young and brittle. If therefore it is only a question 
of moving an Iris carefully from one part of a garden 
to another and of replanting it within a few minutes 
of the time at which it is dug up, then obviously we 
should proceed to do this as soon as the flowers are 
over or even when the plant is in flower — a decided 
advantage when dealing with seedlings or when plants 
in confusion have to be separated. If care is taken, 
the young roots will suffer no damage and soon push 
out into the new, loose soil. They will, however, soon 
wither if the plants remain long unplanted or are 
exposed to the sun while out of the ground. 

On the other hand, when plants have to remain out 
of the ground for some days, it is best to wait until 
August or even September according to the season 
and the district, for the root fibres will then be mature 
and much less liable to injury either by rough handhng 
or by exposure to the sun and air. In very dry weather 
it is as well, when the roots have been arranged and 
before the soil is thrown over them, to pour water into 
the hollow. Then shovel the soil back into position 


and the loose surface will prevent evaporation and 
provide the plants with moisture and enable them to 
establish themselves in their new position. 

If, as seems probable, most Bearded Irises form their 
embryo flower buds for the succeeding year in July, 
then it is obviously undesirable to move them in that 
month, for, if they are disturbed then, the chances are 
that they will receive such a check that they will not 
flower the next year. Plants which are moved care- 
fully and quickly, while in flower or immediately 
afterwards and also those that are moved in the latter 
half of August and September flower freely in the 
following year, whereas those that are moved in July 
are often entirely flowerless. 

With regard to the choice of soils, there is no doubt 
that Bearded Irises grow most vigorously in a rather 
strong, heavy soil but in this country, at any rate, the 
difficulty is that such soils are apt to be very wet in 
winter and also to harbour slugs in vast numbers. The 
rhizomes, therefore, often suffer considerably, especially 
in winter and, if an Iris garden has to be made on such 
soil, raised beds or mounds should be thrown up for 
the Irises in order to secure good drainage. In Southern 
and Central Europe, where many bearded species are 
native, the soil is stiff and heavy but there is the long 
summer drought to ripen the rhizomes thoroughly and, 
in winter, the ground is either frozen or comparatively 

There are unfortunately a few species of Pogoniris, 
which have proved extremely difficult to cultivate, or 
at any rate to flower, in this country. The Portuguese 


I. subbiflora, will only flower when grown in a warm, 
sheltered comer among rocks and in a stony soil, 
where it gets the necessary baking in summer. The 
Manchurian I. Bloudowii survived in the open in 
Surrey from 1907 till 1922 but did not once flower. 
Each spring the curiously bronzed tips of the shoots 
came up but the growth was never sturdy or vigorous. 
It was not until the rhizomes were planted in a cold 
frame devoted to I. Rosenbachiana which remained 
dry from April till October, except for any moisture 
that came up through the soil from below, that they 
consented to flower in 1922 and again in 1923. Similar 
treatment would doubtless succeed with some of the 
big species or varieties that are imported from time 
to time from Syria, Armenia and Kashmir. The 
difiiculty with them is that a frame is hardly large 
enough and it might be as well to dig up the rhizomes 
about the end of July or a little later and store them 
in dry sand in a sunny position until October. Care 
must be taken, however, to see that the roots have 
grown to their full length before the rhizomes are 
lifted and yet they must not have remained so long 
that they have thrown out lateral rootlets, for in that 
case the roots would not take hold of the ground when 
the rhizomes were replanted in autumn. 

Bearded Irises have become so popular in the last 
twenty years that there is a danger that the public 
and even gardeners may come to think that there are 
no other Irises. What is still more remarkable is that 
the innumerable Bearded Irises that are so popular 
are practically all derived from a comparatively few 


species {see p. 184). However, if interest in the culti- 
vation of Irises is to be maintained, it is to be hoped 
that attempts will be made to get into cultivation 
more of the wild forms and species. There is nearly 
always some almost indefinable charm about a species 
which is absent from many of the garden hybrids. The 
latter tend to be selected from innumerable seedlings 
according to some artificial standard or to satisfy a 
craving for size or weird colouring and there is nothing 
Hke the variety among them that is to be found among 
the wild species. 

As a rule all the Pogoniris species that flower freely 
in our gardens also set seeds abundantly, e.g. variegata, 
pumila, chamaeiris, aphylla and to some extent pallida. 
Seedlings are extremely easy to raise and the majority 
should flower within two years of the ripening of the 
seeds. The seeds should be sown about October in 
pots of rather rich, light soil, containing a fair pro- 
portion of either well-decayed leaf mould or very old 
manure and some lime rubble. The pots should then 
be sunk to the rim in the open either in a bed of ashes, 
if the soil is heavy, or in the ground if the soil is sandy 
and porous. The pots should then be covered with 
wire netting to keep off birds and leaves and left 
exposed to frost and snow. In February and March 
the pots should be frequently examined and, when the 
points of the young shoots appear, should be given the 
protection of a frame or cold house. The object of 
this is not only to protect the young plants from late 
frosts, which can hoist them out of the soil, but also 
to induce them to grow as rapidly as possible. With 


this assistance they should have produced about five 
leaves some five or six inches in length before the end 
of May and should then be planted out about a foot 
or rather more apart where they are to remain. In 
good soil and in a sunny position 80 to 90 per cent, of 
them should flower in the following year. The success 
of this method can be gauged by the fact that I have 
known I. pumila to flower in the autumn of the year 
in which it was planted out while garden hybrids have 
produced as many as three, four, and actually five 
flowering stems within two years of the ripening of 
the seeds. 

For purposes of classification and of grouping the 
various species of Pogoniris, no part of the plant is 
more important than the spathes or sheathes which 
enclose the buds. These spathes almost always consist 
of two valves and, when the flowers expand, may be 
either wholly green or green more or less flushed with 
purple. In this case they are called, in botanical 
language, herbaceous and the opposite condition is 
similarly described as scarious. This means that 
spathes have become wholly dry and papery before 
the flowers open as in the well-known instance of 
I. pallida. Again, the spathes may be either a mere 
shapeless wrapping as in I. pumila, rounded with a 
prominent sharp keel as in the Balkan I. Reichenbachii 
and I. mellita or much inflated and membranous in 
texture as in I. imbricata from the south of the Caspian 
and in I. Albertii from Turkestan. 

The following descriptions of the individual species 
will give the reference to the first description and 


naming of each, some account of its geographical dis- 
tribution and of the characters which distinguish it 
from its nearest relatives. 

For Garden hybrids see Chapter XVI, p. 220. 

The various species of Pogoniris may be distin- 
guished as follows : — 

Group I. Stem not usually branched, bearing only a 
terminal head of one, two or three flowers. (Occa- 
sionally a very strong plant may develop a lateral 
bud on the stem but this is very rare). 

■ Stem shorter than the perianth tube. i. 

Stem at least equal to and usually much 

longer than the perianth tube. 2. 

Spathes membraneous, closely wrapped I. pumila 
round the tube, shapeless. (p. 195). 

Spathes green, firm, with a sharp keel. I. mellita 

(p. 196). 

2. Leaves and stems arising from close 

tufts of fibrous remains of leaves. 3. 

Leaves and stems not arising from 

fibrous remains of former leaves. 4. 

Leaves tapering gradually to fine points. I. tigridia 

(p. 197). 
Leaves terminating abruptly in a blunt I. Potaninii 
point. (p. 198). 


Spathes with both valves acutely keeled. 5. 

Spathes with only one valve partially 
keeled, if at all. 6. 


5. ( Spathes broad in comparison to their 
length, green. 

Spathes narrow, membranous and al- 
most transparent. 

6. / Rhizomes spreading by stolons ; seeds 
with white collar or aril ; capsules 
opening down the sides and not at the 

Rhizomes not spreading by stolons ; 
seeds without white collar or aril ; 
capsules opening first at the apex. 

Rhizomes very slender, spathe valves 
very narrow and membranous. 

Rhizomes more compact and stouter ; 
spathes herbaceous. 

8. / Spathes broad and rounded. 
Spathes long, lanceolate. 

9. [ Perianth-tube not more than twice as 
as long as the ovary. 

Perianth-tube more than twice as long 
as the ovary. 

10. Spathe valves membraneous, closely 
wrapping the tube. 

Spathe valves not membranous, diver- 

11. j Spathe valves wholly green. 

Spathe valves green in the lower half 
but scarious in the upper half. 

I. Reichenbachii 

(p. 198). 

I. scariosa 
(p. 198). 

I. flavissima 
(p. 199). 


I. Bloudowii 

(p. 200). 
I. mandshurica 
(p. 201). 

I. chamaeiris 
(p. 201). 


I. pseudopumila 
(p. 202). 


I. Griffithii 

(p. 203). 
I. subbiflora 

(p. 203). 



Group II. Stems always branched, bearing one or 
more buds as well as the terminal head of one, 
two or three flowers. 

Stems branching near the ground, the 
flowers on the side branches being 
raised nearly as high as the terminal 
{ flower. 

Stems branching at or about the centre 
with comparatively short branches. 

1. Spathe valves wholly scarious before 
the buds open. 

Spathe valves not wholly scarious before 
the buds open. 

2. Spathe valves membranous, more or less 

Spathe valves of stout substance, not 

Spathe valves very broad and much in- 
flated, the outer sharply keeled ; falls 

\ Spathe valves narrower and less in- 

Iflated, rounded, not keeled ; falls 

4. / Spathe valves scarious in the upper 

third, green below. 

Spathe valves not scarious in the upper 
^ third. 

5. [ Flowers yellow, falls veined with brown- 
1 purple. 

I. aphylla 
(p. 204). 

I. pallida 
(p. 206). 



I. imbricata 
(p. 209). 

I. Albert! 
(p. 210). 

I. albicans 
(p. 211). 


I. variegata 

(p. 212). 

Flowers not yellow. 



6. f Spathes persistently green ; stem with I. kashmiriana 
one or two short side branches. (p, 213). 

Spathes green, flushed with purple, be- 
coming scarious at the tip after the I. trojana 
first flower has opened. (p. 214). 

The above classification is admittedly unsatisfactory. 
In the first place the separation of those species which 
have an unbranched stem from those whose stem 
branches puts far apart such species as scariosa, 
Alberti and imbricata, which seem to form a natural 
group. In the second place it ignores such plants as 
Biliotti, cypriana, mesopotamica, Kochii and junonia, 
with regard to which the difficulty is that there is no 
certainty that they grow wild anywhere. Moreover, 
there is no record of their ever having been raised from 
seeds, not at any rate in sufficient numbers to prove 
or disprove their claims to rank as species. They have 
all come to us from those parts of the world — Asia 
Minor and Syria — which have been civilised since a 
very early period and where land has alternately been 
cultivated and lain waste so many times that it is 
impossible to say with any certainty whether a plant 
is indigenous or an importation from elsewhere. If 
in 1500 B.C. an Egyptian Pharaoh was importing 
Oncocylus and Bearded Irises from Syria into Egypt, 
as is shown by a contemporary bas-relief (see p. 153), 
we can hardly be surprised if it is difficult now to say 
which are really the wild species of Asia Minor and j 
Syria. Who can say whether I. trojana is a native of 
the Troad or a survival of one of those attempts at 
gardening in which some members of the hosts of 


Achilles may have indulged in order to while away the 
tedium of a ten years' siege ? 

/. pumila. Linnaeus, 1753. Named from the Latin 
pumilus, dwarf, diminutive. Austria, Hungary, 
Dobrudja, South Russia, the Caucasus and pos- 
sibly some parts of Asia Minor. 
This species has been much confused with L chamae- 
iris, from which it is easily distinguished by being 
almost, if not entirely, stemless and in having a perianth 
tube two or three inches long. The shapeless spathes 
which closely wrap the tube distinguish it from the 
Balkan L mellita and are usually only one-flowered, 
though a second flower is sometimes produced {see 
fig. 24, p. 220). L pumila is extraordinarily floriferous 
and in some districts, e.g. on the Geissberg near Vienna 
and near Sebenico on the Dalmatian coast, each in- 
dividual plant has flowers of a different colour, purple, 
yellow, creamy white or yellow tinged with brown, 
blue or green. On the other hand specimens from 
Attica in Greece are almost invariably yellow, while 
in the Deliblat in Hungary there seem to be a few large 
forms of some shade of dark purple. The only forms 
that are often offered in catalogues are varieties called 
coerulea or azurea which are almost certainly of garden 
origin and rarely set seed in this country, whereas 
collected forms seed very readily. See also p. 221. 

I. pumila is extremely shallow-rooted and should 
therefore be frequently replanted in good, rich soil. 
It prefers a good loamy soil and is less vigorous in 
sand. It may with advantage be lifted and replanted 
soon after flowering every second year. 


The species is peculiar in having a seed capsule in 
which the walls meet and divide it into three divisions 
at the top but separate below the centre. This character 
has not been recorded of any other species. [See 
fig. 20, which depicts the capsule of I. pumila on the 
stem of I. chamaeiris, the result of hybridizing the 
two species). 

I. mellita. Janka, 1874, from the Latin nicllitus : de- 
lightful. Bulgaria, near Philippolis, Gallipoli and 
in western Asia Minor. 

This species takes the place of I. pumila in the 
Balkans and closely resembles that species, differing 
chiefly in the more rigid, keeled, herbaceous spathes 
which closely resemble the leaves and remain green 
even after the flowers have faded. 

I. mellita is also noticeable for the curiously refined 
and delicate texture of the flowers. The spathes are 
more frequently two flowered than in I. pumila and 
the stem, especially in specimens from western Asia 
Minor, may be one to three inches long. The colour 
is usually a characteristic shade of brown-purple, 
though clear yellow forms are not unknown, especially 
in Asia Minor. The perianth-tube is two or three 
inches long. 

The variety rubro-marginata from Scutari on the 
Bosphorus is a small form in which the leaves are 
edged with a thin line of red, such as may be seen on 
the lower parts of the leaves of I. Kharput. 

I. mellita will flourish under the same conditions as 
I. pumila. 


To face p. 196. 

Capsule and stem of I. pumila x 1. chamaeiris, 

showing long uariovv spathts and withered perianth lube. 
(Full size). 


I. tigridia. Bunge, 1829. North-eastern Asia from 
the Altai Range to Manchuria. The meaning of 
the name is not apparent. 
This curious Httle species grows in dense, close masses 
with the base of the leaves wrapped in short mem- 
branous sheaths and the fibrous remains of old leaves. 
The stem is only a few inches in length and bears a 
single head of one or two flowers. The tube is about 
an inch long in the fully developed flower, of which 
the colour is either a blue-purple or yellow. The 
leaves are narrow and less than six inches in length. 
They taper gradually to a fine point and this readily 
distinguishes L tigridia from L Potanini. From her- 
barium specimens it is obvious that L tigridia is a 
very floriferous little species, well suited to a rock 
garden, if only plants or seeds could be obtained. 

I. Potanini. Maximowicz, 1880. North-western China 
and Tibet, where it is found at high altitudes up 
to 18,000 feet. It was named after the Russian 
traveller, Potanin, who found it in western Kansu 
in 1886. 
This little species would also appear to be a de- 
sirable plant for our rock gardens. It is quite dwarf, 
the stems being only about an inch long and the leaves 
three or four inches long. The flowers are either 
purple or yellow, raised to the level of the tips of the 
leaves by the perianth tube of one-and-an-half inches. 
The tufts of leaves are encased in the curling fibrous 
remains of former leaves. The most obvious difference 
between this plant and I. tigridia is that its leaves are 


very blunt with rounded ends and do not taper gradu- 
ally to a fine point. 

/. Reichenbachii. This is the Balkan representative of 
I. chamaeiris and is as widely distributed in the 
south-east of Europe as is I. chamaeiris in south- 
eastern France. The flowers are either a clear 
yellow of more delicate texture than the flowers 
of I. chamaeiris or of a brownish purple, like those 
of I. mellita. 
I. Reichenbachii is readily distinguished by the 
rounded, sharply-keeled spathes, which separate it 
clearly from I. chamaeiris, with which it is sometimes 
confused. It seems to grow less readily than that 
species in this country and needs to be frequently 
transplanted in well-drained rich soil with plenty of 
lime rubble. 

The stem varies in length from three to nine inches 
or a foot. The yellow-flowered forms have been in- 
troduced into cultivation from time to time under the 
names of serbica and bosniaca, while that of balkana 
was given to a brown-purple form and that of athoa 
to a redder-purple, which came from Mount Athos. 

/. scariosa. Willdenow, 1820. From the Caspian Sea 
east to Turkestan and to the Altai Range. 
This rare species, which has occasionally been in 
cultivation under the name of I. Eulefeldii, is dis- 
tinguished by its long, membranous and scarious 
spathes and by its extremely glaucous leaves, to which 
it owes one of its sjmonyms — I. glaucescens. 


The stem is usually not more than about six inches 
in length and bears one or two flowers. The spathe 
valves are over two inches long and the brown-purple 
perianth tube one-and-an-half inches. The colour is 
usually red-purple with darker veins on the blade of 
the falls. The beard is yellow along the haft but 
becomes white on the blade. 

I . fiavissima, Pallas, 1773. So called by reason of the 
colour of its flower, which is a bright vivid yellow. 

It is one of those species, like I. ruthenica, which 
occur in Hungary and then not again until the Altai 
region in southern Siberia. 

This Iris might almost be described as a minute 
Regelia Iris. Its rhizome spreads by means of slender, 
creeping stolons, its capsule tapers towards both ends 
and opens down the side and not at the top, the seeds 
have the white collar of the Regelia seeds and the 
spathes bear three flowers, which twist spirally when 
they wither. 

The stems are from two to four inches long and the 
spathe valves narrow and scarious at the top. The 
perianth tube is very short. The buds are tinged with 
brown-purple but the open flowers are bright yellow 
with an orange beard. 

I. fiavissima should be grown in sandy soil, weU 
enriched with old leaf mould and not allowed to get 
too dry in the spring and early summer when growth 
is rapid. Being shallow rooted, this Iris should be 
either top-dressed annually or else replanted every 
second year, in August. The flowers are remarkable 


for the cleanness of their colour and are very freely 
produced. This Iris is also known as I. arenaria. 

/. Bloudowii. Bunge, 1833. Named after von Bloudow, 

at one time President of the St. Petersburg 

Academy of Science. A native of the Altai 

Region and of Russian and Chinese Turkestan. 

This is a curious Iris, which for many years exercised 

my patience. Every spring the broad brown shoots 

of the leaves used to appear and turn green as the 

foliage grew but no flower-stems appeared. Then after 

some ten or twelve years the plants had to be shifted 

and I planted them at the back of a cold frame in 

which I grow I. Rosenbachiana. The lights are put 

on this frame in January or February and remain in 

position till the following October, though the plants 

get one or two soakings of water in March and April. 

After that, however, they get none beyond what soaks 

up through the soil. 

I. Bloudowii flowers annually in these conditions, 
and I am very glad that I persevered with it, for the 
brilliant yellow flowers are extremely pleasing. The 
stem is about four or five inches high and bears a 
single head of two flowers, with a very broad, inflated 
and keeled spathe. There are a few brownish veins 
on the haft but the blade of the falls is clear yellow 
with a golden beard. The oblong standards are of the 
same yellow colour. 

Before they die away in summer, the rather flimsy 
leaves grow to about ten inches or a foot in length by 
about half-an-inch in width. 


/. mandshurica. Maximowicz, 1880. This is a Man- 
churian species, which has never apparently been 
in cultivation. It is intermediate between I. flav- 
issima and I. Bloudowii, having the compact and 
not stoloniferous rhizome of the latter and the 
narrow, pointed spathes of the former. 

I. chamaeiris. Bertolini, 1837. The name is derived 
from the Greek %ayLtal meaning " on the ground " 
and was given to mark its dwarf habit. South- 
eastern France and north-western Italy. 
This species has been described under many names, 
the differences consisting merely in variations in height 
and colour. One instance is perhaps enough to show 
the value of difference in size. On Mont Majour, near 
Aries, I once found a plant growing among the bushes 
near the foot and having a stem some ten inches in 
length. Higher up the hill in open, rocky ground 
another plant had a stem of only three inches. The 
following year both flowered side by side in Surrey 
with stems six inches long. 

I. chamaeiris is very frequently confused with 
I. pumila and is the species which is most frequently 
sold under that name. It is readily distinguished from 
I. pumila by its stem, which is always more than an 
inch long and frequently more than three inches long, 
by its greener, more rounded spathes and by its shorter 
tube, which is never longer than the stem as it always 
is in I. pumila. It is a very variable plant both in 
size and colour and is more variable in some localities 
than in others. On Mont Majour it is yellow, on 


Mont Coudon behind Toulon it is yellow frequently 
shaded with brown, while in other localities further 
east and south it is more frequently purple. In others, 
again, many colour varieties are found growing to- 
gether. In cultivation it gives flowers of every shade 
of white, yellow, blue-purple and red-purple from the 
same capsules of seed. 

Its foliage is much more persistent in winter than 
that of I. pumila and for that reason, though I. chamae- 
iris is quite hardy in the south of England, I. pumila 
should prove hardier in the north and in countries with 
a more vigorous winter climate. 

I. chamaeiris may be crossed with I. pumila and the 
hybrids have stems of some length as weU as a tube 
intermediate in length between those of the two 
parents. It will also cross with I. Korolkowi. 

Where its foliage does not suffer in winter, it is a 
very useful plant for making edgings as it is green 
throughout the year and flowers abundantly in April. 
For named varieties, see p. 221. 

The name of Crimean Iris is sometimes mistakenly 
applied to this species, possibly because there is a 
form of it near Hy^res, which was described under 
the name of olbiensis. Olbia, however, was the Latin 
name of more than one town and was that of Hy^res 
as well as of the better-known Olbia in the Crimea. 
The dwarf Iris that grows in the Crimea is pumila. 

/. j)seudopumila. Tineo, 1827. 

The " false pumila " is a native of Sicily, where it 
grows abundantly on the slopes of Mount Etna, and 
of Apulia in southern Italy. 


I. pseudopumila has a stem four to six inches long, 
bearing usually a single flower, the colour being either 
purple, yellow or white. The narrow, membranous 
shapeless spathes closely wrap the perianth tube, which 
is from two to three inches long. 

This species is very closely allied to I. chamaeiris 
and, if it were not for its distribution, might be looked 
upon as a hybrid between that species and pumila, 
for it is practically a large chamaeiris with the long 
tube of I. pumila. Unfortunately this species is 
barely hardy in this country and would need a thorough 
roasting under glass in summer. Consequently it has 
not been possible to carry out any breeding experi- 
ments with it or to ascertain whether it would cross 
with L chamaeiris or with T pumila. 

That it is a real species and not a hybrid is proved 
by the result of crossing L pumila with I. chamaeiris 
(see fig. 20, p. 196). In this is clearly shown the charac- 
teristic capsule of I. pumila, which splits below the 
apex on top of the stem which we usually associate 
with I. chamaeiris. 

/. Griffithii. Baker, 1892. This was named after 
Grif&th, who discovered it in Afghanistan. 
It is very similar to a purple-flowered form of 
I. chamaeiris. It differs, however, in having a long 
perianth tube of about two inches and long green 
spathes. Its rigid spathes differentiate it from I. 
pseudopumila, in which the spathes are membranous 
and closely wrap the tube. 

/. subbiflora. Brotero, 1804. Portugal, southern Spain 


and North Africa. So called because it occa- 
sionally produces two flowers instead of the usual 
single flower. Clusius originally named the plant 
biflora, not bisflorens as we might have expected, 
because he found it in flower in November near 
This Iris is but little known in this country because 
it is only after exceptionally hot summers and in 
favourable springs that the plants will flower in the 
open. The stem grows to about a foot in height and 
the colour of the flowers varies a good deal. In the 
best form that I have seen, which came to me from 
Coimbra, where Clusius first saw the plant and de- 
scribed it about 1565, the colour was a very dark 
black-blue, a deeper colour than I remember to have 
seen in any other Iris. Other specimens are of a 
rather dull reddish-purple and others again of a 
yellowish white. In its native home a second crop of 
flowers is produced in the autumn. 

Botanically the plant is distinguished by its rigid, 
divergent green spathes, which are often as much as 
three inches in length and by the perianth tube which 
is nearlv two inches long. It comes nearest to 
I. Griffithii but is distinguished by the fact that its 
spathes are scarious or membranous in the upper part 
and often flushed with purple. 

J. aphylla. Linneaus, 1753. Southern German5% 
Bohemia, Hungary and the Caucasus. This species 
was well named for it is entirely leafless in winter. 
Its leaves, however, grow very rapidly so that the 


To face p. 204. 

I. apliylla, from Hungary. 

(Half natural size) 


flowers appear early in May and some forms, 
especially those from Hungary, flower regularly 
a second time in September and October. 

It is characteristic of this species that the stem in 
strong growing specimens should branch below the 
centre and frequently indeed at the level of the ground, 
so that two stems appear to spring from the same 
point on the rhizome. The spathes are narrow and 
rounded, entirely herbaceous and either green or 
flushed with dull purple. 

Among wild plants the colour is usually either blue- 
purple or red-purple with a bluish beard, but white, 
yellow and pale gre^^-blue varieties have appeared 
among seedlings in cultivation. 

Owing to the fact that the leaves die entirely away 
before the winter and do not grow again until March, 
this species is very hardy and, since it is also very 
floriferous, it is a most desirable garden plant. 

It seems not impossible that I. aphylla may be one 
of the parents of the so-called I. germanica, for seed- 
lings of the latter have given forms which can only be 
referred to I. aphylla. The difficulty is that, if this 
theory is right, the other parent must presumably be 
a species which keeps its leaves in winter, to account 
for I. germanica's habit of making new growth in the 
late autumn and of remaining green throughout the 
winter. There seems to be no known species which 
would give the necessary characters when crossed with 
I. aphylla. 

There are many local forms of I. aphylla and they 
have received between twenty-five and thirty specific 


names. In 1914 I had planned an expedition which 
would have taken me to the homes of most of these 
local forms but the outbreak of the war made it im- 
possible. Until all these local forms can be grown 
side by side, it is impossible to classify them, for 
herbarium specimens are very unsatisfactory. For 
instance, the typical low-branching stem is not always 
developed in plants that are struggling for existence 
in nature, though it is very noticeable when they are 
well grown in gardens (see fig. 21, p. 204). 

Another characteristic of this species is found in the 
wholly herbaceous and somewhat inflated spathes. 
They are usually green but not infrequently more or 
less flushed with purple and this purple colour also 
appears at the base of the leaves. The beard is usually 
white or white tinged with blue, a colour which is 
particularly pleasing on some creamy white seedlings. 

The plant, which is found in trade lists as I. gracilis, 
is a dull, yellowish variety of I. aphylla in which the 
flowers are more or less splashed with pale purple. 

The average dimensions of I. aphylla are : — Stem 
ten to fifteen inches, leaves twelve to eighteen inches 
when full grown, the outermost in each tuft being 
shorter and usually falcate or curved ; perianth tube 
one inch. 

7. pallida. Lamarck, 1789. Southern Tyrol, especially 
in the neighbourhood of Bozen ; so called because 
its flowers are of a much paler shade of lavender- 
blue than those of the plants known as I. ger- 



To face p. 206. 

I. pallida. 

(Two-thirds natural size). 


The characteristics of L pallida are the tall, stout 
stem with very short lateral branches, as contrasted 
with the relative length of those of I. aphylla and 
L variegata ; the wholly scarious spathe valves, of a 
silvery white even before the buds appear ; and the 
short, perianth tube. The foliage is relatively broad 
and usually very glaucous. 

All these characters are likewise found in the plant 
described as L Cengialti, except that it is more slender 
in all its parts and that the foliage is less distinctly 
glaiicous and the spathes a pale brown instead of 

If we had only the typical Bozen plant and the 
typical Cengialti from Roveredo, there would be no 
difficulty in making two species, as indeed I did in the 
Genus Iris. In 1913, however, I spent a month 
tramping about the coast of Dalmatia and saw in full 
flower innumerable specimens of what we must, I 
think, call I. pallida.* At sea level and in good soil 
the plants have stems three feet in height with a 
tendency to have the flowers crowded together at the 
top, and fairly broad foliage in some cases. There is, 
however, endless variety both in the glaucous or green 
foliage, in colour of the spathes and in that of the 
flowers. At higher levels the plants are much dwarfer 
though the flowers are not much, if at all, reduced in 
size. I. pallida and I. Cengialti are therefore con- 
nected by a whole series of forms, which it seems best 
to include under the one name of I. pallida. 

* The so-called I. pallida dahnatica is almost certainly a garden hybrid of 
I. pallida. Nothing in the least like it grows wild in Dalmatia, 


It would be interesting to conduct experiments on 
Mendelian lines in order to ascertain the relationship 
of the glaucous and of the green types of foliage and 
of the other characters, but in the meantime we seem 
obliged either to content ourselves with one compre- 
hensive species, I. pallida, distinguished by its short, 
side branches, short perianth tube and wholly scarious 
spathes, or to invent dozens of specific names for the 
innumerable slightly different specimens, which it is 
easy to find from Trieste to Ragusa. 

It is also characteristic of I. pallida to have flowers 
that are practically uniform in colour. The actual 
shade is very variable and may be either white or very 
dark purple or of any intermediate tone. 

I. pallida is undoubtedly one of the most important 
of the species which underlie our garden Bearded 
Irises. In the alpine valle^^ of Sinokos, some 4,000 feet 
above Carlopago on the Adriatic coast, I found both 
I. pallida and I. variegata, and hybrids between the 
two. The same two species occur together near Bozen 
with similar hybrids, which were once known as 
sambucina and squalens. 

The flowers of I. pallida are usually strongly scented 
though there is a good deal of variation among indi- 
vidual seedlings. 

Nothing definite appears to be known of the origin 
of the plant that was described as I. plicata. It is, 
however, practically an albino pallida, in which a 
little of the original colour appears in delicate veining 
round the edge of the standards and falls. In all other 
respects I. plicata is a typical pallida. 


L pallida is obviously a plant that is prepared to 
withstand a hard winter, for it loses its leaves in the 
autumn and the young growths never grow to more 
than a few inches in length until the spring. The 
higher mountain forms remain, indeed, entirely dormant 
until the winter is over. 

/. imhricata. Lindley, 1845. A native of the country 

to the south of the Caucasus and so called on 

account of its large, overlapping spathes and 

bractlike leaves on the stem. 

This species is distinguished by its broad, inflated, 

green spathes, of somewhat membranous substance. 

The branching stem is some twenty inches in height 

and the foliage is broad and approximately equal in 

length to the stem. The earliest and outer leaves of 

each tuft are usually very blunt and rounded, so much 

so that specimens of the species were re-named at 

Kew L obtusifolia. 

The colour of the flowers is usually a pale greenish 
yellow, though at least one purple flowered seedling 
has appeared in cultivation. When the flowers of the 
yellow form are clear in colour, they are quite pleasing, 
but for some reason which is not clearly understood, 
they are sometimes splashed with purple, which gives 
them a muddy appearance. This may be due to the 
effect of cold and late frosts on an early flowering 
species. The beard of the yellow form is composed 
of white hairs tipped with yellow and that of the 
purple form of dark bluish hairs. 

I. imbricata seeds readily in this country and is 


easily raised from seeds. It must not be confused 
with the so-called I. flavescens, which is a hybrid of 
garden origin, probably of I. variegata and certainly 
not of I. imbricata. 

/. Alherti. Regel, 1877. A species from Russian 

Turkestan, named by Dr. E. Regel after his son 

Albert, who discovered it in the valley of the river 


This is a very distinct species, the flowers of which 

are noticeable for the way in which the thick brown 

veining on the haft stops abruptly at a line across the 

breadth of the falls about on a level with the end of 

the beard. The veins do not gradually fade away into 

the uniform colour of the blade but suddenly come to 

an end. This character is transmitted to seedlings 

raised by crossing I. Alberti with other species. 

I. Alberti wants a warm, dry soil to do well and is then 

valuable for its early flowering habit, for it is often 

the first of the tall bearded Irises to bloom about the 

end of April. The typical plant has flowers of a rather 

light lavender-purple but yellow-flowered forms are 

also known and in these the veins are brownish-yellow. 

The beard is of pale bluish hairs tipped with yeUow. 

The blade of the falls is strap-shaped and not rounded 
as in I. imbricata, to which I. Alberti seems to be 
related by reason of its membranous, herbaceous 
spathes. Those of Alberti, however, are rounded, 
whereas the outer valve of the spathes of I. imbricata 
is sharply keeled. The seed capsules of both species 
are rounded with verv thick walls. 



I. albicans. Lange, i860. The name was given because 
Lange only knew the white form, which he found 
growing at Almeria in Spain. There seems, how- 
ever, to be Httle doubt that there is also a blue- 
purple form, which is known in commerce as 
I. Madonna. 
It has long been the experience of Foster and of 
others, to whom Irises have been sent from the Near 
East, that the white I. albicans is often included among 
them. About 1895 the firm of Dammann, of Naples, 
received from the Yemen district of Arabia a blue- 
flowered Iris, which was sent out under the name of 
Madonna. When this grew in my garden, I was struck 
by the similarity of the plants to those of I. albicans. 
The central leaves of each tuft are twisted spirally, 
the leaves persist through the winter and their tips 
are always browned by the frost, the spathes are short, 
broad and scarious only in the upper third and the 
side branch is very short. The flowers have curiously 
smooth standards and oblong, bluntly pointed falls. 

I came to the conclusion that albicans and Madonna 
were only colour forms of one species and this con- 
clusion was subsequently confirmed when I found in 
the Paris herbarium specimens of both forms collected 
by Botta, in 1837, i^ the Yemen and a letter from 
Sprenger among Foster's notes to the effect that 
I. Madonna had been imported from the Yemen and 
that there were white forms mixed with it. 

It was then obvious that I. albicans had spread 
from Arabia to wherever the Mahomedans had pene- 
trated, for it was planted on their graves and its curious 


distribution all round the Mediterranean and into Asia 
Minor and Spain was at once explained. 

I. albicans is a fine garden plant. The flowers are 
of more solid substance than other, early -flowering, 
white Irises and have a cleaner outline. The beard 
is of white hairs tipped with yellow, which become 
wholly yellow far back on the haft. There are no 
hairs on the haft of the standards, as there often are 
in the case of florentina and other white forms of 

I. albicans has nothing whatever to do with floren- 
tina, the albino of a slender germanica, which is one 
of the plants grown near Florence along with forms of 
palHda for the production of Orris Root. 

Unfortunately neither albicans nor its variety 
Madonna will set seed at all readil}^ in this count^3^ 
It would be extremely interesting to self-fertilise both 
and also to raise seedlings by crossing them together. 

/. variegata. Linnaeus, 1753. This species with its 
yellow standards and with its yellow falls varie- 
gated with chestnut or purple is so distinct that 
it has no synonyms. Its habitat extends south 
and east from the neighbourhood of Vienna to 
Croatia, Servia, Bulgaria and Dobrudscha. 
Its foliage is rather thin, narrow and conspicuously 
ribbed. The stem is from one to two feet long and 
usually bears two or three lateral heads of flowers. 
The spathes are somewhat inflated and wholly her- 
baceous, either light green or flushed with purple and 
this purple colouration is also found at the base of the 


To face p. 212. 

I. variegata. 

(Slightly reduced). 


leaves. The amount of purple or chestnut veining on 
the falls varies considerably in different specimens and 
the circumference is sometimes pale yellow and some- 
times wholly purple when the veins have coalesced 
and run together. 

I. variegata is extremely hardy, for its leaves die 
entirely away in the autumn and the plants remain 
dormant until the spring. It also seeds abundantly 
and is undoubtedly the source from which have been 
obtained the yellow tones in the majority of our Garden 
Bearded Irises. The dimensions of wild specimens of 
I. variegata vary in the same way as those of I. pallida, 
for there are large, tall lowland forms and alpine forms 
not more than a foot high. In rare cases the yellow 
ground has been replaced by white (cf. /. lepida, 
Heuffel; 1853 ; /. leucographa, Kemer, 1863), and it 
has been found possible to change the white to blue 
by hybridisation. Thus the well-known variety Black 
Prince is a variegata, as can be proved by self- 
fertilisating it and raising seedlings. Some wild forms 
of I. variegata flower early in May while others are 
several weeks later and among the latest of the Bearded 

/. kashmiriana, Baker, 1877. A Kashmir species, which 
is also found in Afghanistan and Baluchistan. 
This is a tall Bearded Iris, distinguished by its long, 
green spathes, of which the valves are often three or 
four inches long. The yellowish-green leaves are 
ribbed and about twenty inches long and the stout, 
oval stem is a little taller. 


The colour of the commonest form is a creamy white 
with a beard of white hairs, tipped with yellow along 
the haft. Other forms are of a lavender or blue-purple. 
All have a characteristic and strong fragrance. 

It is a difficult species to keep in good health in this 
country, probably because the rhizomes do not get the 
necessary roasting in summer. 

I have never been able to separate from I. Kash- 
miriana the plant which is known as I. Bartoni and 
which Foster received from Col. Barton who found it 
in Kandahar. It is a rather dwarf variety and comes 
botanically between I. Griffithii and I. Kashmiriana. 

/. trojana. Kerner, 1887. This Iris was sent to Vienna 

by Sintenis from the Troad but its distribution 

as a wild plant is unknown. 

Its sturdy growth, branching habit and large flowers 

commended it at once to hybridists and it was with 

this species that the firm of Vilmorin worked, when it 

produced several good hybrids, including Alcazar, 

early in the nineteenth century {see also p. 233). The 

foliage is rather narrow for so large a plant and the 

stem which is about three feet high branches low down 

and in vigorous specimens has secondary heads of 

flowers on these branches, so that five or six large 

flowers may be open at the same time. 

The spathes are narrow, taper gradually at either 
end and are flushed with red-purple. They become 
scarious in the upper part when the first flowers have 
opened. The flowers are large with rounded standards 
of a light blue shade of purple, while the long falls are 


somewhat redder in tone. The beard is of white hairs 
tipped with yellow on the blade of the falls but becomes 
wholly yellow on the haft. 

I. trojana was originally introduced into our gardens 
under the name of asiatica and has often been confused 
with and grown for I. cypriana. 

Certain Tall Bearded Irises. 

Under this heading it seems advisable to group and 
to attempt to describe and distinguish a number of 
Irises, which may or may not have an equally good 
claim to specific rank as those already described. It 
has already been explained on page 194 that they are 
nowhere known to be certainly wild but, as the names 
are in frequent use among gardeners, it seems best to 
give particulars which it is hoped will enable each one 
to be recognized. 

I. germanica. Linnaeus, 1753. 

This is no individual variety but an abstraction from 
a group of varieties which agree in the following 
characters : — Leaves of some length in winter ; flower 
stems liable to destruction by frost before they have 
emerged from the leaves ; stems bearing a terminal 
head of two flowers, a lateral branch three or four inches 
long and between them another short-stemmed head 
or two ; spathes scarious in the upper half, green, 
more or less flushed with purple at the base ; capsules 
narrow, oblong, triangular in section ; seeds very few, 


oval, not flattened ; standards usually a little paler in 
colour than the falls and often bearing a few, strag- 
gling hairs on the haft. 

The nearest approach to a wild form seems to be 
/. Kochii, Kerner (1887), a rather dwarf plant not 
growing to a height of much more than two feet with 
rich red-purple flowers of particularly smooth outhne, 
not unlike that of albicans, and without any white 
ground showing between the thick brownish veins at 
the end of the haft [see p. 183). 

Seedlings of I. germanica are difficult to obtain and 
are usually dwarf, with some of the characteristics 
of I. aphylla. It might be supposed that all the va- 
rieties of I. germanica arose by the hybridisation of 
I. aphylla, but the other parent is unknown. It would 
probably have to possess spathes which were, at any 
rate, partly scarious and the habit of making new 
growth in the autumn which would persist through 
the winter. 

In milder climates than ours, such as that of Cali- 
fornia, I. germanica is capable of almost continuous 
growth and perpetual flowering, for blooms appear at 
odd times almost throughout the year. 

There are several white forms of I. germanica, of 
which the best known is florentina, which betrays its 
origin in the bluish tinge of the flowers and in the 
occasional occurrence of purple splashes on the 
standards or falls. I have even seen a standard which 
was half white and half purple. Other white forms 
are germanica alba with broader falls and a yellow 
beard and Istria with greenish veins on the haft and 
a white beard. 



I. BilioUi. Foster, 1887. Named after Alfred Biliotti, 

a British Consul at Trebizond on the Black Sea, 

from whom Foster received plants in 1884. 

This is practically a germanica with long, narrow 

green spathes, not scarious. The falls are red-purple 

with brownish veins on white on the haft and the 

standards are of a bluer shade. The style crests are 

of an opal colour. The leaves are of a peculiar shape, 

being narrow at the base and having their widest point 

above the middle. 

/. junonia. Schott and Kotschy, 1854. It is not known 
why the plant was so named. 

It is doubtful whether the true plant is now in cul- 
tivation. It was found originally on the Cicihan 
Taurus in Asia Minor and was once sent from there by 
Siehe of Mersina to Haage and Schmidt of Erfurt. 
One of these plants once flowered in my garden and 
corresponded exactly with the original description. 
Confusion has arisen because on other occasions Siehe 
sent out other plants under the same name. 

I. junonia has very short and narrow foliage, only 
about a foot or fifteen inches in length, whereas the 
stem is at least two feet high. This bears numerous 
lateral branches and heads of lavender-blue flowers. 
The standards are lavender and the falls bluer with 
a beard of white hairs tipped with orange. The spathes 
are between one and two inches, green below and 
scarious above. 

As might be expected of a plant from the Cicilian 
Taurus, I. junonia loses its leaves in autumn and 
remains dormant through the winter. 


/. cypriana, Baker and Foster, 1888, and I. mesopo- 

tamica, Dykes, 1913, are two plants, which are 

imperfectly known and which have been much 

confused. They may both be distinguished from 

I. junonia by the fact that their foliage begins to 

grow again in the autumn, so that the leaves are 

of some length in winter and consequently liable 

to damage by frost. 

I. cypriana has narrow foliage compared with that 

of mesopotamica ; its spathes are very broad and 

rounded and the outer valve is almost wholly scarious, 

while those of mesopotamica are longer and narrower, 

green in the lower half and scarious above. The 

perianth tube of cypriana is longer and more slender 

than that of mesopotamica. 

The flowers of I. mesopotamica are of a lavender- 
blue shade not unlike those of I. junonia, while those 
of I. cypriana are very large with a prominent white 
beard, of a distinctly red shade of purple and wedge- 
shaped with their greatest width near the extremity. 

I. cypriana reached Foster from Cyprus and I. meso- 
potamica was sent home from Mardin in Armenia. 
I. Ricardi appears to be a form of mesopotamica and 
came apparently from Syria, [see, in this connection, 
p. 194). The stems are so long and the flowers so big 
and heavy that the stems often sprawl instead of 
standing erect and this detracts from their usefulness 
in the garden. 

All these tall Bearded Irises from Asia Minor and 
Syria must have a more thorough ripening of their 
rhizomes in summer than they usually obtain in this 


country. Possibly they would succeed if the rhizomes 
were either covered with glass during July, August 
and September or dug up at the end of July, stored in 
dry sand in a sunny shed until October and then 


Garden Bearded Irises. 

There is always something ephemeral about a garden 
hybrid as opposed to a wild species. What is best 
to-day is often surpassed to-morrow and it is rare to 
find two people who will entirely agree as to what is 
really best. Further, there seems to be no doubt that 
French and American raisers and growers have a 
preference for what we called shot, smoky or clouded 
colours, while in England we most of us seem to prefer 
pure colours and uniform shades. American growers 
seem inclined to lay too much stress on height of stem 
and size of flower and to forget that some smaller 
varieties are wanted for the front of our borders. 

The best advice that can be given to any one who 
wants to start growing garden Irises is that he should 
go and see a large collection, pick out the varieties that 
please him most and then be prepared to defend his 
choice. An alternative is that he should raise seed- 
lings for himself. All his geese will then be swans 
and the number that he keeps need only be limited by 
the space at his disposal. 

The earliest Bearded Irises to flower are also the 
smallest, namely I. pumila and I. chamaeiris. Of the 
former there are endless varieties in nature but prac- 
tically no named forms. Even the well-known " pumila 


To face p. 220. 

I. pumila and outline of perianth tube and ovary. 

(Full size). 


coeiTilea " is not really a pumila but probably a hybrid 
between that species and I. chamaeiris. In fact there 
are two quite distinct plants in commerce, one of 
which is practically a pumila while the other is a 
chamaeiris. The real pumila coerulea has flowers of 
a pale sky-blue and opens its first flowers usually in 
the first week in April. The other plant, which is 
often offered under the name of pumila azurea, has a 
tinge of grey overlying the blue and the short tube 
and obvious stem of chamaeiris. These dwarf plants 
are comparatively shallow-rooting and for that reason 
need to be transplanted every second year, if not every 
year. Otherwise the}^ seem to exhaust the soil within 
reach of their roots and then become less vigorous and 
dwindle away. 

I. chamaeiris sets seed readily and seedlings are very 
easy to raise. Some gardeners prefer to do this for 
themselves and to select those seedlings which please 
them most. Those, however, who have not the 
patience to raise seedlings for themselves will find that 
of the named varieties some of the best are formosa, 
a violet-purple which is sweet-scented ; cyanea, a deep 
violet-blue ; florida, a pale citron-yellow, and Orange 
Queen, a good clear yellow. Marocain, introduced by 
MM. Millet et Fils, in 1914, is becoming popular by 
reason of its splendid colour, a deep blackish- violet, 
even deeper than Souvenir de Mme. Gaudichau. Both 
pumila and chamaeiris should be in flower in April and 
deserve a place in every rock garden, though care must 
be taken later in the season to prevent rampant car- 
peting plants from growing over and smothering them. 


The stronger-growing varieties of chamaeiris are slso 
admirably adapted for forming an edge to an herba- 
ceous border — an edge, moreover, which is practically 
evergreen. Pumila and chamaeiris are closel}?^ followed 
b}^ I. aphylla in its many forms. Of this the wild 
plants have flowers of red-purple, usually of a dark 
shade, though white, yellow and pearly-grey seedlings 
have appeared. One of a pale yellow splashed and 
mottled with purple has long been known most in- 
appropriately as I. gracilis. A deep blue variety, 
" Blue Boy," we owe to Foster and two floriferous 
little seedlings, which appeared in my garden, have 
recently been put into commerce. Pyramus is a 
violet-purple self and Thisbe a pale bluish-white. The 
height is about nine inches or a foot and in all cases 
the beard is tinged with blue. 

At the end of April and early in May we have in 
flower the so-called Intermediate Irises, many of which, 
are supposed to have been raised by crossing the later 
varieties with the small species already mentioned. 
Several of them were raised by Capame in the Channel 
Islands, where the warmer spring climate probably 
makes it easier to obtain seeds of some early varieties 
than it is on the mainland. The best of his varieties 
are possibly Queen Flavia (2oins.), a clear yellow ; 
Prince Victor (i8ins.), light and dark blue-purple ; 
Ivorine (i8ins.), creamy white, and Royal (i8ins.), a 
particularly good grower with clear blue standards and 
reddish-purple falls. 

Within the last few years some growers have at- 
tempted to enlarge the Intermediate section by 


including in it such early flowering varieties as floren- 
tina, Si was, Kochii and Kharput. The term inter- 
mediate was probably first used in this connection by 
Capame and he certainly understood by it dwarfer 
varieties than these. He defined it, in fact, as meaning 
an Iris of the size and growth of a large chamaeiris but 
with flowers the size of atropurpurea or Kharput. 
Since Caparne's time, moreover, quite a number of 
varieties have appeared, which may quite properly be 
classed as Intermediate. Bosniamac (24ins.) with 
sulphur-white standards and creamy falls faintly over- 
laid with pale lavender was raised by Miss Willmott 
by crossing a yellow form of I. Reichenbachii, known 
as bosniaca, with " germanica " macrantha. This 
hybrid is not unlike M. Denis' hybrid Ricardi x serbica 
(another name for bosniaca) , which has lately appeared 
in commerce under the name of Perdita (2oins.). Some 
of these early flowering varieties are of most unexpected 
origin. For instance the rich red-purple Kurdistan 
(i5ins.) is a seedling of Kharput as is also Srinagar 
(i5ins.) with standards of clear aniline-blue and re- 
markably long falls of rich dark blue-purple. Zwanen- 
burg (22ins., Denis) is a hybrid of susiana and of a 
large yellow chamaeiris, " lutescens," and has a grey 
ground overlaid with old gold and bronze. 

A little later than these Intermediates comes the 
group which was formerly known as germanica, con- 
taining such good varieties as Kochii, which is possibly 
a wild plant from the neighbourhood of the Italian 
lakes and which is distinguished from the very similar 
variety atropurpurea, or nepalensis, by its more oval 


and less wedge-shaped fall and by the brown and not 
white ground that appears between the coarse veins 
at the side of the haft of the falls. Macrantha or Amas 
(28ins.) has flowers of fine substance but probably wants 
a heavy soil, if it is to do well. Siwas (28ins.), a collected 
variety from Asia Minor, has pale blue standards and 
darker blue falls and Yellow Hammer (2oins.) which 
was obtained by M. Denis as a seedling of the so- 
called lutescens, is the best yellow to associate with it. 
Florentina (28ins.) is a bluish-white form of a slender 
purple variety which is grown near Florence, for Orris 
Root and germanica alba is a white counterpart of 
atropurpurea. Istria (3oins.) is another fine white 
variety with a white beard, which I found growing by 
the roadside between Fiume and Abbazia. Cretan 
(36ins.), another collected variety, is tall, sturdy and 
remarkably free flowering. The standards are a bright 
violet-blue and the falls a rich shade of violet-purple. 

Early in the season the only yellow species, taller 
than a chamaeiris, are the Caucasian I. imbricata 
(28ins.) with which the garden seedling flavescens was 
confused and a yellow variety of the Turkestan 
I. Alberti. Alberti (3oins.) itself has been combined 
with pallida and the result is a series of tall growing 
varieties resembling pallida but flowering in the first 
week in May. Three of these have recently been in- 
troduced under the names of Charmian (39ins.), 
Cymbeline (45ins.), and Octavia (39ins.). 

By the end of May the number of varieties in flower 
is so great that it is difficult to know how to classify 
them. It might be possible to group the varieties 


historically or under the names of their raisers, for 
each raiser seems in a way to have a different ideal 
and selects from among his seedlings in a different way. 
In the following lists the height of each variety is 
given in inches together with the name of its raiser 
and the date of its introduction into commerce. The 
difficulty of giving accurate and satisfactory colour 
descriptions is very great. Some have tried to 
standardise their descriptions by using either the 
Repertoire de Couleurs of the French Chrysanthemum 
Society or Ridgway's Colour Chart, but, unless these 
publications are constantly at hand when the descrip- 
tions are read and until we all become more familiar 
with their colour names than we are at present, the 
results are often not a little puzzling. To Ridgway 
" royal purple " is deep blue and " true purple " a 
bright red shade, while his violet is a blue shade and 
that of the Repertoire a pale red-lilac. Another diffi- 
culty is that there are at least two distinct ways of 
looking at an Iris. It may be considered either as a 
whole, as it grows in the garden and looked upon from 
a distance of a yard or two, or else its standards and 
falls may be taken separately and laid alongside the 
colour chart. In the latter case it will almost always 
be found that each example is a mixture of several 
colours while in the former the impression conveyed 
by the sunlit flower in the open garden is quite different 
from the effect we get when we see it under canvas at 
a show or even in a room. The yellow light under 
canvas is particularly damaging to the colour of Irises 
and no Iris has probably suffered more for this reason 


that I. Hoogiana. The magnificent clear, Hght lavender 
of the flowers seen in the open becomes a dull pinkish- 
purple under canvas and the flowers are hardly re- 
cognizable as the same. It is therefore with full 
knowledge that the result is far from satisfactory that 
I attempt to give some description of the colouring of 
each variety. 

I am fully aware that the number of varieties men- 
tioned in this chapter is very large and that few 
amateurs will want to grow so many. On the other 
hand, it is equally true that each variety mentioned 
has some special merit which makes it difficult to 
exclude it from any good collection. The number of 
varieties offered in trade catalogues now runs into 
several hundreds and I have merely endeavoured to 
help the beginner by selecting from among them about 
fifty standard varieties. To these I have added 
about twenty of what appear to be the best among 
the latest introductions. These lists are my personal 
selection and I do not flatter myself that they will be 
accepted without criticism. 

Of the older varieties those most likely to survive 
are Black Prince (soins., Perry, 1900) with very deep, 
velvety falls and a very late flowerer ; Caprice (2oins., 
Vilmorin, 1904) with standards of a reddish-mauve and 
falls of a deep rosy-red ; Caterina (48ins., Foster, 1909), 
pale lavender, flowers large but a weak stem, often 
unable to hold itself erect ; Edouard Michel (soins., 
Verdier, 1904) of a unique shade of what might almost 
be called wine-red ; Gracchus (24ins., Ware, 1884), 
a bright and very free flowering variegata ; Her 



Majesty (32ins., Perry, 1903), of a slightly deeper 
shade of lilac-pink than Queen of May and with more 
veining ; Innocenza (24ins., Lemon, 1854), a late, pure 
white ; Isoline (36ins., Vilmorin, 1904) with lilac-pink 
standards and deeper falls, has the reputation of being 
a shy flowerer and needs a warm position to do well ; 
Jacquiniana (3oins., Lemon, 1840), with coppery- 
crimson standards and velvety maroon falls ; Madame 
Blanche Pion (3oins, Ca^^eux, 1906), not unlike Nuee 
d'Orage but brighter ; st. soft bronze-yellow f. rich 
purple. Ma Mie (3oins., Cayeux, 1906), an improved 
Mme. Chereau (32ins., Lemon, 1844), with large flowers 
veined at the edge with blue on a white ground ; 
Maori King (2oins., Ware, 1890), a very brightly and 
richly coloured dwarf variegata ; Mrs. Alan Gray 
(26ins., Foster, 1909), with rather small flowers of soft 
lilac-pink and the habit of flowering a second time in 
the early autumn ; Mrs. Horace Darwin (24ins., 
Foster, 1873), a white seedling raised by Foster, which 
has inconspicuous violet veining on the haft of the 
falls ; Mrs. Neubronner (24ins., Ware, before 1900), 
with flowers of a rich golden-yellow ; Oriflamme 
(3oins., Vilmorin, 1904), with immense flowers, light 
and dark blue ; Queen of May (36ins., introduced 
before 1859), soft lilac-pink ; pallida dalmatica (36ins.), 
a very old garden hybrid of fine form and of a beautiful 
pale lavender shade. 

More recently than the above varieties the following 
seem to have established themselves firmly in public 
favour : — Afterglow (36ins., Sturtevant, 1918), st. and 
f. soft greyish-lavender shading to buff and to yellow 


at the haft ; Alcazar (48ins., Vilmorin, 1910), st. 
aniline-blue, f. deep velvety violet-purple ; Ambassa- 
deur (46ins., Vilmorin, 1920), st. clouded, reddish- 
violet, f. velvety, dark reddish- violet with orange 
beard ; Asia (48ins., Yeld, 1916), st. pale lavender 
suffused with yellow at the base, f. pale reddish- 
purple ; Balaruc (3oins., Denis, 1920), a pure white 
seedling of Mrs. H. Darwin and of great substance, 
raised by M. Denis ; Ballerine (48ins., Vilmorin, 1920), 
st. pale lavender-blue with wavy edge, f. a slightly 
darker shade of the same colour ; B. Y. Morrison 
(33ins., Sturtevant, 1918), st. pale lavender, f. deep 
purple with a wide lavender border ; Dalila (3oins., 
Denis, 1914), st. white, f. rich red-plum colour ; 
Dominion (3oins., Bliss, 1917), an improved Black 
Prince with dark, velvety falls of great substance ; 
Eldorado (32ins., Vilmorin, 1910), st. yellow-bronze 
shaded with heliotrope, f . bright violet-purple ; Fro 
(3oins., Goos u. Koenemann, 1910), one of the best 
variegatas, st. bright yellow, f. brown-crimson with a 
yellow edge ; Glitter (27ins., Bliss, 1919), another good 
variegata, earlier than Fro ; Goldcrest (3oins., Dykes, 
1914), a self-coloured flower of a bright violet-blue 
with a conspicuous golden beard ; Iris King (36ins., 
Goos u. Koenemann, 1907), st. old gold, f. crimson- 
maroon edged with gold ; Jeanne d'Arc (3oins., 
Verdier, 1907), with white flowers, faintly veined with 
pale blue round the edges of the petals ; Lady Foster 
(4oins., Foster, 1913), with very large flowers of pale 
blue, the falls being slightly deeper in colour than the 
standards ; Lent A. Williamson (4oins., Williamson, 


1918), an American improvement on Alcazar, very 
richly coloured ; Lord of June (4oins., Yeld, 1911), 
St. pale lavender-blue, f. deep aniline-blue — one of the 
best of Mr. Yeld's seedlings, with numerous flowers of 
large size on well-branched stems ; Lorely (3oins., 
Goos u. Koenemann, 1909), st. clear yellow, f. a velvety, 
reddish-brown edged with yellow — a very popular and 
distinct variety ; Mademoiselle Schwartz (48ins., Denis, 
1916) — one of the tallest of all Irises with large flowers 
of the palest mauve, paler even than pallida dalma- 
tica ; Magnifica (sSins., Vilmorin, 1920), with large 
flowers on a well-branched stem, st. lavender-blue, 
f . dark reddish- violet with a golden beard ; Medrano 
(26ins., Vilmorin, 1920), a late flowering variety of 
very remarkable colouring, st. a dark copper-red, 
f. even darker, reddish- violet ; Opera (soins., Vilmorin, 
1916), St. rich pansy- violet with some bronze shading at 
the base, f. deep violet-purple ; Prosper Laugier (36ins., 
Verdier, 1914), an improved and more richly coloured 
Jacquiniana ; Prospero (45ins., Yeld, 1920), a vigorous 
strong-growing variety with pale lavender standards 
and deep red-purple faUs which fade to a lighter 
shade at the edge ; Quaker Lady (27ins., Farr, 1909), 
with somewhat small flowers of a curious combina- 
tion of lavender and yellow ; Queen Caterina (36ins., 
Sturtevant, 1918), large rosy - lavender flowers on 
stout stems ; Rheinnixe (32ins., Goos u. Koenemann, 
1910), st. white, f. violet-purple, edged with white ; 
Richard II (2oins., Dykes, 1914), a son of the Black 
Prince, st. white, f. deep violet with a conspicuous 
white edge ; Seminole (39ins., Farr, 1920), one of the 


" reddest " varieties, the falls a little darker than the 
standards ; Shekinah (36ins., Sturtevant, 1918), a tall, 
pale yellow variety raised in America ; Troost (26ins.» 
Denis, 1908), st. deep rosy-purple, f. a little paler but 
with deeper veining ; White Queen (24ins.), a plant 
of uncertain origin, which was formerly known as 
Queen Mary. The flowers are small but pure white 
and very freely produced. 

Of the most recently introduced varieties the most 
notable are : — Anne Page (4oins., Hort, 1919), a pale 
lavender-blue self ; Aphrodite (48ins., Dykes, 1922), 
a bright violet-pink self without any obvious veins ; 
Bolingbroke (3oins., Hort, 1922 — as Blanche), a fine 
white seedling of Miss Willmott ; Bruno (33ins., Bliss, 
1922), a variety of the substance of Dominion but 
different in colour, s. light bronze, f. of velvety, deep 
red-purple ; Cardinal (36ins., Bliss, 1922), a Dominion 
seedling with lavender standards overlaid with rose 
and with fine, glossy, dark purple falls ; Chasseur 
(36ins., Vilmorin, 1923), a distinct yellow variety, the 
colour being deeper near the edge of the falls than in 
the centre ; Citronella (33ins., Bliss, 1922), st. pale 
yellow, f. reddish-brown with a yellow streak con- 
tinued beyond the end of the beard which somewhat 
spoils the effect ; Duke of Bedford (36ins., Bliss, 1921), 
a deep, rich violet of very velvety texture ; Harmony 
(38ins., Dykes, 1923). It is a pity that this variety 
could not keep its first name of Thundercloud. It is 
self-coloured, of a rich, deep purple-blue with a dark 
beard ; Leonato (48ins., Hort, 1922), st. pale lavender, 
f. slightly darker lavender-blue ; Paladin (34ins., Bliss, 


1921), a macrantha seedling which is an improvement 
on Oriflamme with clear violet-blue standards and 
dark violet-purple falls ; Peau Rouge (28ins., Cayeux, 
1923), a very richly coloured variety, s. coppery-red, 
f . deep red with a brown tipped yellow beard ; Ruby 
(36ins., Dykes, 1922), a deep, reddish- violet with a 
blue beard tipped with gold, flowers of medium size 
but of splendid colour when the light shines through 
them ; Sapphire (3oins., Dykes, 1922), one of the best 
blue Irises with a brilliant yellow beard and very free 
flowering ; Souvenir de Mme. Gaudichau (4oins., 
Millet, 1914), a very deep, velvety violet-blue ; Sunset 
(ochracea coerulea) (3oins., Denis, 1919), a very late 
flowerer, st. old gold, f. coppery-yellow suffused with 
violet ; Tenebrae (36ins., Bliss, 1922), another free- 
flowering Dominion seedling of dark, dusky colouring ; 
Titan (36ins., Bhss, 1921), st. light violet-blue, f. deep 
violet-blue ; Virginia Moore (3oins., Shull, 1921), a 
yellow American seedling which is better than Sheki- 
nah ; Wedgewood (4oins., Dykes, 1923), a late flower- 
ing, self-coloured variety of a rich blue colour, set off 
by a pure white beard ; Yeoman (33ins,, Bliss, 1922), 
a free-flowering Dominion seedling with standards and 
falls of light and dark blue- violet. 

It is diflicult to conclude this chapter without 
adding an appreciation of the work of some of the 
various raisers, who have given us new varieties in the 
last twenty years. 

In this country little had been done before 1900 to 
raise garden hybrids on a large scale. Foster had made 
a few experiments with new introductions and obtained 


such good hybrids as Caterina and Miss Willmott but 
they were produced rather as the result of other en- 
quiries and not as an end in themselves. Yeld, of 
York, on the other hand, aimed at tall stems and good 
flowers and by rigorous selection produced such good 
things as Asia, Prospero and Lord of June. Then 
Bliss produced Dominion, which in favourable circum- 
stances is very fine but which does not do well every- 
where. It was the herald of a new race with flowers 
of great substance and velvety falls, containing such 
fine varieties as Swazi, Duke of Bedford and Bruno^ 
Titan, Moa and Bertrand. These are still rare and it 
remains to be seen whether the}^ will flower freely 
under ordinary garden conditions. Sir Arthur Hort 
has been remarkably successful in raising large-flowered 
varieties of pale and dark shades of blue-purple, but 
for some reason they do not seem to do as well in the 
open conditions of the nursery gardens as they used 
to do in his walled garden at Harrow. Perhaps it is 
that they need the heavy soil they had there. My 
own contributions have been partly the results of 
experimental pollination, such as Kurdistan and 
Srinagar, two seedlings which came of an attempt to 
discover the origin of Kharput by self-fertilizing it 
with its own pollen or the new race of early-flowering, 
tall pallidas, which derive their precocity from the 
Turkestan species — I. Albertii. Among garden hybrids 
my inclination lies towards self-coloured flowers, of 
which Goldcrest, Sapphire, Ruby and Aphrodite are 
good examples. The last named, the pinkest of them 
all, suddenly appeared rising above a bed of pallida 


seedlings of which the vast majority were distinctly 
blue in tone. 

Another pink or light rose variety is Mrs. Marion 
Cran, which was raised by Mr. Amos Perry, of Enfield. 
This grower, the son of the raiser of Black Prince and 
Her Majesty, has lately put on the market a very large 
number of varieties of his own raising and some of 
them are certainly destined to stand the test of com- 
parison with those of other raisers. One of the best 
has been named Lord Lambourne. It grows to about 
forty inches. The standards are of bronze and fawn 
and the falls a rich madder-crimson. 

The French taste seems to differ entirely from ours 
and from the American, as was quite obvious when 
English and American growers went over to the Iris 
Conference in Paris, in 1922. Such varieties as Nuee 
d'Orage and Loute have never become popular here 
and M. Denis' interesting Demi-deuil seems no longer 
to be even offered in catalogues. Many of M. Denis' 
Ricardi seedhngs were magnificent in his garden at 
Balaruc but they needed the strong soil and the hot 
climate to keep them healthy. The brilliant sunshine, 
too, lit up the sombre colourings of some varieties 
which we are apt to think rather dingy in this country. 

It was in France that the possibilities of I. trojana 
as a parent were first realized and chiefly by the house 
of Vilmorin, Andrieux et Cie. Even if Isoline, which 
clearly shows its trojana parentage, is not a success in 
every garden, Alcazar does well everywhere and is an 
excellent seed parent. More recently the same firm 
has given us Ambassadeur, Ballerine, Magnifica and 
lastly the yellow Chasseur. 


Other French raisers are MM. Millet et Fils of Bourg- 
la-Reine, to whom we owe Corrida (32ins.) with bleu 
d'horizon standards and slightly darker falls and the 
well-known Souvenir de Mme. Gaudichau ; and MM. 
Cayeux et Le Clerc of Vitry-sur-Seine, among whose 
best varieties are Ma Mie, Mme. Blanche Pion and the 
richly coloured Peau Rouge. 

Of American varieties the best I have seen are 
Lent A. Williamson, Queen Caterina and Shekinah, 
but doubtless there are many more as good, as indeed 
there could hardly fail to be in a country where the 
hobby of raising seedlings seems to have seized hold 
upon so many gardeners and where they are now being 
raised in such vast numbers. 

Miss Sturtevant was one of the pioneers in the work 
of raising new seedlings. She raised the beautiful 
variety Afterglow and then gave us Shekinah, the first 
of a race of tall, yellow Irises. One seedUng of it, 
which has already flowered with me, certainly sur- 
passes it, being of a richer yellow colour and having 
larger flowers of more substance. Another raiser, Farr, 
has given us Quaker Lady and Seminole and the 
niunber of raisers seems to be increasing rapidly every 

The German firm of Goos und Koenemann became 
known when it introduced Iris King and Loreley. 
Variegatas seem to be popular in Germany and the 
latest addition to their number is Flaming Sword 
(Flammenschwert) which grows to nearly three feet 
in height and has golden yellow standards and falls of 
velvety crimson-maroon edged with yellow. 


A Note on Cultivation, on Raising Seedlings 
AND ON Diseases. 

An attempt has been made in dealing with each species 
to point out its special requirements, if they are known, 
but there are a few general rules which anyone who 
wishes to cultivate Irises successfully should con- 
stantly bear in mind. 

There are very few Irises that will flourish for long 
in waterlogged soil. Those that wiU are all of them 
beardless Apogons, such as pseudacorous, versicolor 
and laevigata. Kaempferi, setosa and the sibiricas 
like plenty of moisture in the growing season but are, 
I think, aU the better for drainage in winter. The 
Bearded Irises aJl, without exception, want dry con- 
ditions and the only hope in damp situations is to 
make raised beds for them. They also need lime in 
the soil and this is, in most cases, best supplied in the 
form of old mortar rubble. The Apogons do not, as 
a rule, want lime, except possibly the Spurias and 
some, such as the Californians, will not grow in a soil 
that is highly charged with lime. 

With regard to the time for moving Irises, the 
golden rule is to look at the roots. It is not necessary 
to dig up the plant in order to do this. The soil can 


be carefully scratched away from the base of the leaves 
and then it is usually quite easy to see whether new 
roots are being formed. If they are, it should be safe 
to move the Iris and it is only the species that form 
large, fleshy rhizomes that will stand removal when 
root-growth is not active. The more slender species 
perish before they can take hold of the soil again. 
This accounts for the fact that we so seldom see such 
ideal rock garden plants as cristata, pumila, ruthenica 
doing really well. Yet if these are moved, broken up 
and replanted at the right time, they are capable of 
forming clumps which flower so freely as literally to 
hide the foliage. 

Nearly all Irises are the better for sun and very few 
need shade, though a few will tolerate what gardeners 
call half-shade, such are gracilipes, cristata, vema, 
foetidissima and, I am inclined to think, tectorum. 

Seeds must not be coddled and too great kindness 
in the shape of warmth and protection is likely to kill 
them. They should always be sown in the open and 
never under glass. A few weeks only before his death, 
Sir Michael Foster wrote to tell me that a hybrid 
Oncocyclus seed had just germinated after lying 
dormant in the ground for eighteen years and I have 
raised plants from seeds more than ten years' old. 
Under glass they would certainly have rotted. How- 
ever, it must not be supposed that all Iris seeds lie 
dormant for ten years. Fresh seeds of species should 
germinate readily in the first spring after they are 
sown, approximately at the time when plants of the 
several species begin to grow again. Hybrid seeds 


are more irregular and in particular those of the On- 
cocyclus species. 

Protection is, however, useful once the seeds have 
germinated and every endeavour should then be made 
to get the young plants to grow rapidly so that they 
may be planted out as early as possible. To allow 
them to become crowded in the seed pots and the roots 
to become matted checks them considerably. 

Planting out seedlings is less toilsome when the 
ground is wet but do not wait for rain. Dig a few 
holes where the plants are to go with a heavy trowel 
and fill three or four with water ; then put a seedling 
in each before all the water has soaked away and draw 
the earth up to the base of the leaves. This should 
leave the surface loose and dry. Evaporation is then 
much less rapid than if the plants are watered after 
planting. This cakes the surface of the soil and 
assists evaporation. See also pp. 48, 33 and 189. 

After planting no further attention will be needed 
except occasional weeding and loosening of the surface 
soil. Seedling plants will continue to grow until late 
in the autumn and, except in very severe seasons, 
remain more or less green throughout the winter. 

The foliage of estabUshed plants of most Bearded 
Irises tends to die away in the autumn and the dead 
leaves should be removed from time to time in order 
to aUow the rhizomes to be as dry as possible. Under 
no circumstances should Iris leaves ever be cut off 
short while they are still green in order to make them 
tidy. Unless the leaves come away from the rhizomes 
quite easily, they should be allowed to remain. In 


the case of some Beardless Irises, such as I. sibirica, 
the leaves, though dead, stay attached until the spring 
but they may, in this case, and with advantage, be 
shortened in the autumn to about one third of their 

Iris Diseases. 

There are four distinct diseases which not infre- 
quently attack our garden Irises. One which attacks 
Irises of the Reticulata Section is caused by the fungus 
Mystrosporium adusium and the treatment for this is 
given on page 32. 

Rhizome Rot is caused by a bacillus Pseudomonas 
iridis which mostly attacks the base of the stem and 
causes it to collapse, usually when the flowers are just 
appearing. This disease can be recognized at once 
by its characteristic smell, the rhizome becoming soft 
and slimy. The best treatment is to lift the plant 
attacked and carefully cut away all diseased portions 
of the rhizome. It should then be washed in a bright 
pink solution of potassium permanganate, replanted 
in fresh soil and sprinkled with superphosphate of lime. 
This should be washed in with water if the weather is 
dry. An ounce or two of superphosphate to the square 
yard, scattered over beds of Bearded Irises at flowering 
time, should check the disease and at the same time 
provides the plants with the lime that they need. Care 
should be taken to apply the superphosphate when the 
leaves are dry, for otherwise it will stick to them. 

The other two diseases are Leaf Spot which attacks 
the leaves of Irises, especially in wet autumns, and the 


rarer Leaf Rust which seems to occur most frequently 
on Regelia and Regehocyclus Irises and sometimes to 
spread to ordinary Bearded varieties. 

Leaf Spot, which is due to Heterosporium gracile, 
appears as pale, round or elliptical spots on the leaves, 
which gradually become more numerous until they cover 
the whole of the surface. The leaves then die away 
prematurely and the rhizome is consequently weakened. 
This disease is rarely found on soil in which there is 
plenty of lime and the best remedy is to scatter slaked 
lime over the surface of the beds in the autumn after 
first removing as much as possible of the dead and 
dying foliage. Beds for Bearded Irises can scarcely 
have too much old mortar rubble added to them and, 
when this is done, Iris Leaf Spot should not be trouble- 

The rust, Puccinia iridis, appears as small reddish- 
brown rusty spots and the remedy is to spray at 
intervals of two or three days either with a solution 
of one ounce of potassium sulphide in two or three 
gallons of water or with ammoniacal copper carbonate 
solution. The latter is prepared by dissolving three 
ounces of sulphate of copper and three ounces of 
carbonate of soda in a quart of concentrated ammonia, 
which is then diluted with twenty-two gallons of water. 







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^^^^^ S S 

A List of Synonyms sometimes used in Gardens. 













gig ante a 









= a form of pumila. 

= a garden Bearded Hybrid. 

= a form of pumila. 

= a form of aphylla. 

= ensata. 

= a form of aphylla. 

= the Cretan form of unguicularis. 

= fulva. 

= aphylla. 

= japonica. 

= a garden Bearded Iris. 

= aphylla. 

= a form of ochroleuca. 

= Mariae. 

= aphylla. 

= a form of cengialti. 

= a garden Bearded Hybrid. 

= a form or hybrid of chamaeiris. 

= sisyrinchium. 

= a variegata with a purple ground. 

= aphylla. 

= a South Africa Morea. 

= chamaeiris or pseudopumila. 

= chamaeiris. 


The most important page reference is placed first. 

AcuTiLOBA 156. 

Afterglow 227. 

Aitchisoni 55, 46. 

alata 50, 41. 

alata and palestina, difference between 42. 

Alberti 210. 

albicans 211. 

albopurpurea 133. 

Alcazar 228 214. 

amabilis 116. 

Amas 224. 

Ambassadeur 228. 

Anne Page 230. 

Aphrodite 230. 

aphylla 204. 

aphylla, gcirden varieties of 222, 

Apogon Section, The 89. 

Apogon, The name 8. 

arenaria 200. 

arizonica 125. 

Aschersonii 131. 

Asia 228. 

asiatica 215. 

assyriaca 55. 

athoa 198. 

atrofusca 157. 

atropurpurea 158. 

„ variety of germanica 223. 

aurea no. 

Bakeriana 35, 30. 

balkana 198. 

Ballerine 228. 

baldshuanica 61, 44. 

Balaruc 228. 

Bamumae 158. 

Bartoni 214. 

Bastardi 138. 

Bearded Irises, Cultivation of 184. 

„ „ Transplantation of 185. 

Belamcanda chinensis 87. 
Biliotti 217. 
Bismarckiana 159. 
Black Prince 226. 
Blanche 230. 
Bloudowii 200. 
Blue Boy 222. 
Boissieri 74, 17. 
Bolingbroke 230. 
Bosniamac 223. 
bracteata 117, 17. 
Bruno 230. 

bucharica 58. 
Bulleyana 99. 
Bungei 132. 
B. Y. Morrison 228. 

Californian Subsection, The 113. 

,, Irises, Cultivation of 114. 

Cantab, a variety of reticulata 39. 
Capame Irises 222. 
Caprice 226. 
Cardinal 230. 
Carthaliniae 112. 
Caterina 226, 232. 
caucasica 56. 
cengialti 207. 
chamaeiris 201, 7. 

„ Garden varieties of 221. 

Charmian 224. 
Chasseur 230. 
chrysantha 158. 
chrysographes 96, 17. 
Citronella 230. 
Clarkei 100. 
Collettii 22, 7, 21. 

Colour Charts, Doubtful Utility of 225. 
Corm 4. 
Corrida 234. 
Cretan 224. 

" Crimean " Irises 202. 
cristata 84, 17. 
Cultivation of Bearded Irises 184. 

„ ,, Californian Irises 114. 

„ „ Hexagona Irises 127. 

„ „ Juno Irises 47. 

„ „ Japanese Irises 135. 

„ „ Oncocyclus Irises 152. 

„ „ Pogoniris Irises 184. 

„ „ Regelia Irises 167. 

„ „ Regeliocyclus Irises 155. 

„ „ Reticulata Irises 32. 

„ „ Sibirica Irises 90. 

„ „ Spuria Irises 103. 

cyanea 221. 
Cymbeline 224. 
cypriana 218. 

„ confused with trojana 215. 

Dalila 228. 
Danfordiae 36, 30, 31. 
darwasica 171. 
Delavayi 95, 17 ■ 
dichotoma 87. 



Diseases of Irises 238, 32, 185. 
Dominion 228. 
Douglasiana 116, 17. 
Duke of Bedford 230. 
Dutch Irises 65, 73. 

Edouard Michel 226. 

Eldorado 228. 

English Iris ; probable origfin of name 63. 

English Iris, varieties of 70. 

English and Spanish Irises, differences 

between 63. 
ensata 139. 
Eulefeldii 198. 
Evansia Section, The 78. 

„ Irises 9. 
Evansia, Origin of the word 78. 
Ewbankiana 157. 


Falls or outer segments i. 
Farreri io8. 
fihfolia 75, 67. 

„ a trade name for xiphium praecox 
Flaming Sword 234. 
Flammenschwert 234. 
flavissima 199. 
florentina 212, 216, 224. 
florida 221. 
foetidissima 142. 
foliosa 129. 
Fontanesii 77, 68. 
Forrestii 98, 17. 
Fosteriana 57, 46. 
Fro 228. 
fulva 128. 
fumosa 55. 

GALATicA, variety of persica 33. 
Gatesii 159. 

Geographical Distribution of the Genus 3. 
„ Distribution of the Species 


germanica 215, 182. 

„ alba 216. 

,, atropurpurca 223. 
glaucescens 198. 
Glitter 228. 
Goldcrest 228. 
gouiocarpa 178. 
Gracchus 226. 
gracihpes 83. 
gracilis 206. 
graminea 105. 
Grant- DufBi 131, 19. 
Grif&thii 203. 
Grijsi 131. 

Giildenstadtiana 109. 
Gynandriris Section, The 24. 

HAFX 1. 

haJophila 109. 
Harmony 230. 
Hartwegii 114. 

,, australis 115- 

Haynei 1^7. 

Heldreichii, variety of persica 53. 

Henryi 131. 

Herbaceous spathes 2. 

Her Majesty 226. 

Hermodactylus tuberosus 5. 

Hexagona Subsection, The 127. 

hexagona 129. 

,, var. Lamancei 129. 

hissarica 44. 

histrio 38, 28, 31. 

histrioides 37, 28. 

Hoogiana 172. 

Hookeriana 177, 7. 

humilis 105. 

Hybrids between Species, fertile and un- 
fertile 16. 

iBERicA 160. 

imbricata 209. 

Innocenza 227. 

Intermediate Irises 222. 

Iris King 228. 

Isaacsoni, variety of persica 53. 

Isoline 227. 

issica, variety of persica 53. 

Istria 216, 224. 

Ivorinc 222. 

Jacquimana 227. 
Japanese Irises 135. 
japonica 79. 
Jeanne d'Arc 228. 
juncea 73. 
Juno Irises 5. 

,, „ Cultivation of 47. 

„ „ Hybrids between 45, 46. 

„ „ Three main groups of 44. 
Juno Section, The 41. 
junonia 217. 

Kaempferi 134. 

„ Distinguished from laevigata 

kashmiriana 213. 
kermesina 139. 
Kemeriana 107. 
Kharput, Red edges to leaves of 196. 

,, Seedlings of 184. 

,, Strange distribution of 181. 

Kochii 183, 216. 
Kolpakowskiana 34, 31. 
Korolkowi 173. 
Krelagei 27. 
kumaonensis 177, ?• 
Kurdistan 184, 223. 



Lady Foster 228. 
laevigata 136. 

„ Distinguished 

Lamancei 129. 
lazica 145. I47- 
Leaf Spot 23S. 

from Kaempferi 



Leaves of Water Irises 10. 

Leichtllni 174, 

Lent A. Williamson 228. 

Leonato 230. 

lepida 213. 

leucographa 213. 

lineata 172. 

Longipetala Subsection, The 122, 

longipetala 123. 

Lop tec 78. 

Lord Lamboume 233. 

Lord of June 229. 

Lorely 229. 

Lortetii 160. 

lupina 162. 

lusitanica 65. 


macrosiphon 120. 

Madame Blanche Pion 227. 

Madame Chereau 227. 

Mademoiselle Schwartz 229. 

Madonna 211. 

Magiiifica 229. 

Ma Mie 227. 

mandshurica 20 r. 

Manissadjani 162. 

Maori King 227. 

Mariae 159. 

Marocain 221. 

masia 131. 

meda 161. 

Medrano 229. 

melanosticta 131. 

mellita 196, 7. 

Mermieri 74. 

mesopotamica 218. 

Milesii 82. 

minuta 132. 

Miss Willmott 230, 232. 

missouriensis 124. 

Monnieri iii. 

montana 125. 

Moraeas 4. 

Mrs. Alan Gray 227. 

Mrs. Horace Darwin 227. 

Mrs. Marion Cran 233. 

Mrs. Neubronner 227. 

Nepalensis Section, The 21. 

nepalensis 21, 7. 

nepalensis Wallich, a variety of germanica 

21, 223. 
numidica 74. 


ochracea coerulea 231. 

ochroleuca no. 

Octavia 224. 

olbiensis 202. 

Oncocyclus Section, The 150. 

,, Irises 9. 

„ Hybrids 154. 
Opera 229. 
Orange Queen 221. 
orchioides 57, 45. 

orien talis 93. 

Oriflamme 227. 

Orris Root, Plants used for 212. 

Paladin 230. 

palestina 51, 42. 

palestina and alata, Differaice between 42. 

pallida 206. 

„ dalmatica 207, 227. 
paradoxa 161. 

Pardanthopsis Section, The 87. 
Pardanthus chinensis 87. 
Peau Rouge 231. 
pedicel i. 
Perdita 223. 
perianth-tube i. 
persica 52, 42. 
plicata 208. 
Pogoniris Section, The 180. 

,, The word 8. 
Potanini 197, 7. 
Prince Victor 222. 
prismatica loi. 
Prosper Laugier 229. 
Prospero 229. 
pseud acorns 137. 
pseudopumila 202. 
Pseudoregelia Section, The 175. 
pumila 195, 6, 7. 

„ azurea, a garden hybrid 221. 

„ coerulea, a garden hybrid 221. 
Purdyi 119. 

purpurea, variety of persica 53. 
Pursind 54. 
Pyramus 222. 

Quaker Lady 229. 
Queen Caterina 229. 

„ Flavia 222. 

„ Mary 230. 

„ of May 227. 

Regelia Section, The 164. 

„ Irises 9. 
RegeUocyclus Irises 154. 

„ Cultivation of 155, 168. 

Reichenbachii 198, 7. 
Reticulata Section, The 27. 
reticulata 39, 6, 27. 

„ Seeds of 33. 

„ Bulbs, Fungoid disease of 32, 238. 
Rheinnixe 229. 
Rhizome 2, 6. 

Rot 185, 238. 
Richard II 229. 
Rosenbachiana 60, 44. 
Rossii 132. 
Royal 222. 
rubromarginata 196. 
Ruby 231. 

Rust on Iris leaves 239. 
ruthenica 148. 

Sambucina 184. 
Sapphire 231. 
sari 162. 



scariosa 198. 

Scarious spathes 2. 

Schelkownikowii 157. 

Sections of the Genus, The ii. 

Seedlings, Raising 236. 

Seminole 229. 

setosa 143, 3. 

Shekinah 230. 

Sibirica subsection, The 90. 

„ Irises, Cultivation of 90. 

,, Irises, Hybrids of 91. 
sibirica 92, 18. 

Sieheana, variety of persica 53. 
sikkimensis 178. 
sindjarensis 54, 45. 
sindpers 55, 46. 
sindpiu- 54. 
Sintenisii 106. 
sisyrinchium 24, 4. 
Siwas 224. 
Snow Queen 94. 
sofarana 162. 
songarica 108. 
sophenensis 29, 37. 
Souvenir de Mme. Gaudichau 231. 
Spanish Iris, Varieties of 73. 
Spanish and English Irises, differences 

between 63. 
Spathes i, 190. 
speculatrix 84. 
Spuria Subsection, The 102. 
Spuria Irises, Cultivation of 103. 
spuria iii, 19. 
squalens 184. 
Srinagar 184, 223. 
Standards or inner segments 1. 
stenophylla, variety of persica 53. 
Stigma I. 
Stocksii 57. 
stolonifera 173. 
Style I. 

stylosa, a synonym of unguicularis 145. 
subbiflora 203, 3, 
Sunset 231. 
susiana 163. 
Suwarowi 166. 


tectorum 8i. 

„ Hybrids of 78. 

tenax 118, 17. 

Tenebrae 231. 

tenuifolia 132. 

tenuis 117. 

tenuissima 121. 

Thisbe 222. 

Thundercloud 230. 

tigridia 197, 7. 

tingitana 76, 17, 66. 

Titan 231. 

Transplanting Irises 185, 235. 

tripetala 144. 

trojana 214. 

trojana, Confused with cypriana 215. 

Troost 230. 

Tubergeniana 54. 


urmiensis 158. 
Urumovii 107. 

VAGA 174. 
variegata 212. 
Vartani 38, 29. 
Veglia 184. 
ventricosa 132. 
vema 147, 17. 
versicolor 138. 

var. kermesina 139. 
Virginia Moore 231. 
virginica 139. 


Water Irises, Characteristic leaves ol lo 

Watsoniana ii6. 

Wattii 80. 

Wedgewood 231. 

White Queen 230. 

Willmottiana 56, 47. 

Wilsonii 97, 17. 

Winkleri 35. 

xiPHioiDES 69. 
xiphium 71, 19. 

Yellow Hamuer 224. 
Yeoman 231. 

Zwanenburg 223. 

Printed at The Wessex Press, Taunton, England. 





9358 00^5«'>8 


Dykes, William Rickatson» 1877-1925. 


A handbook of garden irises, toy W» R« 


Dykes* London, M* Hopkinson, 1924* 


vii, 250 p* 24 pi* (incl* front*) 

22 cm* 



• .) 


FEB 03, '75 296244 NECbp 24-25782